Quinoa with Asparagus and Mushrooms
Quinoa is a great side dish. By itself it can be pretty bland, so I seasoned it using vegetable stock and added asparagus spears and beech mushrooms. The dish pairs wonderfully with chicken or tofu. I could eat several plates of it without worrying about calories!
It's a great, healthy alternative to pasta or rice. Quinoa is incredibly versatile, and you can pair it with pretty much any combination of protein and vegetables. Plus, it's gluten free!
Yields: 8 servings2 cups quinoa
1 quart vegetable stock, as needed
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon salt
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
2 cups asparagus spears, cut into 3-inch pieces
1 cup beech mushrooms (see tips), separated
½ teaspoon black pepper, freshly cracked
Caramelizing the onions: Heat about 2 tablespoons of oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pan. Add the onions and cook over low heat for about 10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the onion from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown.
For the quinoa: In the same pan, add the quinoa and vegetable stock. Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer. Cook, uncovered, for about 20 minutes. Salt the water half-way through the cooking process and keep stirring every now and then so that the quinoa does not stick to the bottom and sides of the pan. You want to make sure the heat is on low. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes. This might take longer than the cooking instructions on the package but this way, the quinoa will be nice and tender. Gently fluff the quinoa using long chopsticks (or a fork). Set aside.
For the asparagus and mushrooms: In a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon oil. Add the garlic, cook until slightly golden and add the asparagus. Toss frequently and cook for about 3-4 minutes over high heat. Season with salt and pepper. Add the mushrooms.
Assembly time: When the mushrooms are cooked through, there will be liquid at the bottom of the pan from sweating the vegetables. Lower the heat and add the quinoa. Stir well. Add more vegetable stock (if necessary;I didn't). Cover and let sit for about 5-10 minutes. Adjust seasoning.
Serve warm or at room temperature.
You can find beech mushooms in most Asian markets. They look similar to enoki mushrooms but are larger and taste very close to oyster mushrooms. You could replace them with button mushrooms.
You can mix and match any other vegetables you have on hand. You could add other vegetables such as cauliflower, broccoli rabe, sugar snap peas or marinated artichoke hearts.Published By: on January 10, 2012.