Quinoa Pilaf with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Dec 5th

What’s red and green and not a Christmas cookie? This quinoa pilaf. Festive yet NOT made from two sticks of butter.

If you’ve read this site before you may have heard me talk about the 80/20 rule. I didn’t make it up, obviously, but I do agree with it. Generally speaking, I eat what I should eat 80% of the time, and 20% of the time I eat what I want to eat. This get’s especially tough during the holiday season. Let’s say your weekends are filled with holiday events – including gingerbread houses, cookie exchanges, and breakfasts with Santa. You might as well chalk your Saturday and Sunday up as your 20% for the week, which means you have to be even more careful to eat healthfully on the week days. Now’s the moment when I point my finger back at myself and say “stop eating Turkey Hill Skinny Minty after lunch and dinner every day”. This quinoa fits snugly into our 80% category, so make a big batch and portion it out for  week day lunches, complete with a cheese stick and an apple.

I adapted this quinoa recipe from Clean Eating, but besides adding a bit more olive oil it’s just as clean as was intended (the other changes I made didn’t alter the fat or calories). Quinoa (unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know by now it’s pronounced keen-wah) is an ancient grain that is considered a complete protein, meaning it has all of the essential amino acids (much like animal products). Some packages are pre-rinsed, but read carefully as the grain grows coated in a substance called saponin (which kept the birds and bugs away) and might require you to rinse first. Anyways, the flavor is mild and needs some doctoring up, if you ask me. This dish uses punchy sun-dried tomatoes and bright cilantro to create a majorly flavorful whilst healthy dish. Eat it alone for a perfect meat-free meal (much higher in protein than your typical grain) or pair it with chicken or fish – it comes together quickly and is definitely easy enough for a week night.

Quinoa Pilaf with Sun-dried Tomatoes

Adapted from Clean Eating

Serves 6

1 tbsp. olive oil

2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c. chopped sun dried tomatoes

1 small onion, finely diced

2 c. chicken broth

1 c. quinoa, rinsed if necessary

pinch crushed red pepper flakes, or more to taste

1/4 tsp. salt, or more to taste

2-3 tbsp. chopped fresh cilantro

black pepper to taste

1. Heat olive oil in medium sauce pan over medium high heat.

2. Add garlic and saute for 30 seconds or  until fragrant.

3. Add tomatoes and onion and saute 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until onion is softened.

4. Add chicken broth, turn heat to high, place lid on the pan and bring liquid to boil.

5. Add quinoa and pepper flakes to broth and reduce heat to low. Add lid and simmer until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, about 20-25 minutes.

6. Add salt, cilantro and pepper. Stir to combine, and taste for seasoning. Serve.

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