Quinoa is a meal-time staple at our house (that and lentils, but don’t even get me started on lentils, I’ll save that for another day). If you’ve never tried quinoa, never cooked it, or aren’t even sure how to pronounce it… I get it. It was brand new to me only a few years ago. I just happened to fall in love with a man who could eat quinoa and vegetables for every meal of the day (yes, even breakfast).
I’m a major fan of quinoa which is why I want to share how simple it is to cook, because although it might be new to you, and therefore might be “scary” or “weird” to you, there’s nothing to be afraid of. It’s SO easy to make, turns out perfectly every time, and is pretty damn delicious.
It’s a perfect side dish for gatherings because it’s grain-free, gluten-free, vegan, and can be combined with pretty much any flavor combination. Did I mention it’s crazy healthy? That’s right. It’s high in protein, fiber, iron, calcium, potassium, contains all 9 essential amino acids, and the list goes on. Seriously, Google it.
Face it, you need quinoa in your life.
Ok yeah, I love quinoa and I’m gonna tell you the simplest way to make it. But the flavor of quinoa itself isn’t anything to write home about. It’s a great foundation for a meal, so it does best with company. Enter roasted sweet potatoes. Now we’re talking! Quinoa and roasted sweet potatoes are seriously the building blocks of meal times at our house.
That’s why I’m also sharing my no-fail recipe for my all time favorite vegetable. I mean, have you seen my blog? Sweet potatoes galore.
You see, what we’re building here is a beautiful, nourishing bowl of goodness. What takes this bowl from delicious to majorly nutritious is gorgeous, dark, leafy kale. I KNOW you guys, but don’t stop reading here. It took me a long time to come around to kale, but it’s popular for a reason. It’s crazy healthy and when prepared the right way, it can be totally tasty!
The last piece of this puzzle is a stellar lemon tahini drizzle that’s the perfect little something to bring it all together. If you’re not familiar with tahini, it's simply ground sesame seeds. Sort of like how peanuts become peanut butter, but it tastes savory not sweet.
And there you have it! My version of a nourish bowl, Buddha bowl, or whatever other cute name you have for it. These recipes will yield several servings, which means you can make a big batch of each of these recipes and you’ll have lunches or dinners for days. I top my bowl with a bit of diced avocado and give it a big ole stir.
I hope you learned something new today or at least gained some inspiration for your own nourish bowl. If you give one or all of the recipes a try, I’d love to hear about it. Leave your insights in the comments below. Cheers!
simple cooked quinoa
1 cup white quinoa
2 cups water (or stock, if you have it)
Rinse quinoa with cool water in a fine mesh strainer. (Honestly I skip this step sometimes and hardly notice the difference. It's supposed to reduce the bitterness of the quinoa, but I don't think it's bitter in the first place. You do you.)
Combine quinoa and water in a medium pot with a lid and bring to a boil.
Once boiling, turn heat down to a simmer (medium-low) and set your timer for 12 minutes. When time's up, check to see if all of the water has evaporated by running a rubber scraper along the bottom of the pot. If the water isn't fully absorbed, set a timer for another 1-3 minutes.
When the water is fully absorbed, turn off the heat, remove the pot from the burner, and leave the lid slightly ajar on top. Let it hang out for 5-10 minutes. This helps release any quinoa that may have stuck to the bottom of the pot.
Fluff with a fork. You can enjoy quinoa hot, cold, or at room temperature. It will keep in your fridge for 4-5 days. Yields six 1/2 cup servings.
roasted sweet potatoes
2-3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
1 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
pinch of coarse salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
optional seasonings include: garlic powder, cinnamon & nutmeg, ginger, chili powder
Preheat oven to 400*F. Cover a large baking sheet with a piece of foil for easy cleanup.
Toss sweet potatoes in a large bowl with oil, salt and pepper, and any desired spices. Spread onto the baking sheet in a single layer.
Bake for 12 minutes. Stir and bake for 10-12 minutes longer. Remove from oven and stir so they don't stick to the foil.
These are best fresh from the oven but will keep in your fridge for several days and are delicious reheated as well. One serving is 1/2 cup roasted sweet potatoes.
sautéed garlicky kale
1 bunch of lacinato kale, stemmed and coarsely chopped (about 1 1/2 lbs)
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
pinch crushed red pepper flakes (optional)
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup water
coarse salt and freshly ground black pepper
1-2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium heat.
Once the oil is hot, option to add crushed red pepper flakes. Let them cook for about 10-15 seconds.
Add the garlic and cook for about a minute, do not let it burn.
Increase heat to medium-high and stir in the water and kale. Cover and cook 4-5 minutes.
Remove the lid and cook until the liquid has evaporated. Season with salt and pepper and stir in balsamic.
The cooked kale can be stored in the fridge for a few days and reheats well. This recipe yields 4 servings.
lemon tahini drizzle
1/4 cup tahini
2 tbsp lemon juice
2 tbsp maple syrup
2 tbsp warm water
Whisk ingredients together in a small bowl. Add additional warm water, if needed, to reach desired consistency. Taste and adjust flavors according to your preferences (more lemon juice for acidity, more maple syrup for sweetness, more tahini for thicker consistency, more water for thinner consistency).
This can be stored separately in the refrigerator for a couple days. Simply stir to reincorporate ingredients and drizzle over bowl.