Sunday, January 2, 2011

Double Broccoli Quinoa

Happy new year! One of my new year resolutions is to eat more vegetables. I found a great new blog that focuses on natural and vegetarian foods. I don't think I will ever become a vegetarian, but I like the first recipe that I tried from the website already. I had three more planned last week, but couldn't find all the ingredients. I will try again this week. I had to go to Whole Foods to get the rest of the ingredients. Have you ever been to Whole Foods? I just love it. I've never been in love with a grocery store before. I am usually into clothing or home decorating stores, but a grocery store? Everything at Whole Foods is just so pretty. Except for the narrow aisles, I love how fresh everything looks. Bakery, veggies to meat looks good there. I would buy all my food there if only they were closer to where I live and if only it wasn't so expensive there. The first time I went there I spent around $50 on maybe three items. I think I bought fish oil and other vitamins though. Today, I spent about $25 on 4 items. Still a lot.

Anyway, I have discovered a new food that I like. It's called quinoa and it's really good for you because of its fiber and protein content. I never really bothered to research why white rice is not good for you, but I guess the reason is because a lot of its nutrients have been stripped away. If you were to eat rice in its natural or wild form, then it would be better for you. Oh well, I'm Asian and white rice will always be a part of my diet. It's not like it's going to kill you if you eat it anyway. Quinoa could be a substitute for rice as it has more nutrients and will fill you up more by just eating less of it than a bowl of rice. It kind of has a nutty flavor to it too. Even my one year old likes it. :)

The original recipe is adapted from 101 Cookbooks. I originally made it per the recipe, but found that I liked more cooked broccoli in it instead of the pesto, so this adapted recipe only makes half of the pesto the original recipe would make. The original recipe only calls for half of the pesto anyway, so I wouldn't waste the broccoli to make more pesto unless of course you don't like broccoli.

Serves 4 - 6


3 cups cooked quinoa*
5 cups raw broccoli, cut into small florets and stems
1 medium garlic clove
1/2 cup sliced or slivered almonds, toasted
2 tbsp freshly grated Parmesan
pinch of salt
1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons heavy cream

Optional toppings: fire oil (optional)**, sliced avocado


Heat the quinoa and set aside.

Now barely cook the broccoli by pouring 3/4 cup water into a large pot and bringing it to a simmer. Add a big pinch of salt and stir in the broccoli. Cover and cook for a minute, just long enough to take the raw edge off. Transfer the broccoli to a strainer and run under cold water until it stops cooking. Set aside.

To make the broccoli pesto puree one cup of the cooked broccoli, the garlic, 1/4 cup of the almonds, Parmesan, salt, and lemon juice in a food processor. Drizzle in the olive oil and cream and pulse until smooth.

Just before serving, toss the quinoa and remaining broccoli florets with the broccoli pesto. Taste and adjust if needed, you might want to add bit more salt or an added squeeze of lemon juice. Turn out onto a serving platter and top with the remaining almonds, a drizzle of the chile oil, and some sliced avocado or any of the other optional toppings.

*To cook quinoa: rinse one cup of quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa, two cups of water (or broth if you like), and a few big pinches of salt until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can see the curlique in each grain, and it is tender with a bit of pop to each bite. Drain any extra water and set aside.

**To make the red chile oil: You'll need 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil and 1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes. If you can, make the chile oil a day or so ahead of time by heating the olive oil in a small saucepan for a couple minutes - until it is about as hot as you would need it to saute some onions, but not so hot that it smokes or smells acrid or burned. Turn off the heat and stir in the crushed red pepper flakes. Set aside and let cool, then store in refrigerator. Bring to room temp again before using.

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