Quinoa: Not just for vegans

By Scott Greenberg

Yes, yes. I can hear the groans through my feeble little internet speakers.

And it’s a shame, really, because I’d do the same thing if I read a boring-ass title like Roasted Vegetable Quinoa. Really, I would. Sounds like something an event organizer would have to yell to quiet down a room full of rioting veganites. ”Don’t worry! We have roasted vegetable quinoa! Don’t throw that chair, IT’S AN ANTIQUE, DAMN YOU.”

But, despite my predilection toward all things sugar and flesh (especially considering the last two posts consisting pretty much entirely of slow-roasted farm animals and some kind of sauce to go on top of those slow-roasted farm animals) roasted vegetables are just really, really good. Provided they’re done right, and it’s pretty much impossible to screw them up. Not to mention, going back to the sugar thing, that vegetables HAVE sugar in them. All of them do, even the ones you don’t like. Sugar that’s just waiting to be caramelized by a little 400 degree, 40 minute hug from that oven sitting front and center in your kitchen.

So pipe down, quit your complaining and start realizing that vegetables are little pieces of earthy, sugary goodness. And put them in some quinoa. Quinoa’s pretty good, too.

Here’s what you need:

– 1 head of broccoli

– 12 oz. heirloom tomatoes (or whatever size plastic container thing they have)

– 1 cup quinoa

– 2 garlic cloves

– 12 oz. cremini mushrooms

– 1 vidalia onion

– Olive oil

– Dried red pepper flakes

– 1 tablespoon sherry

– 2 green onions

Here’s what you do:

Note: it’s roasted vegetables, not beef wellington. If you wanna add some different vegetables in, just do it. It’s not a big deal. First, preheat your oven to 400.

Slice off the tops of your head of broccoli so you have roughly inch-sized pieces. You know how broccoli’s supposed to look, you’re not an idiot. Make it look like that.

Cut the heirloom tomatoes in half, then put the tomatoes and broccoli on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper so the insides of the tomatoes are facing up. Drizzle some olive oil on top, enough to cover the tomatoes and broccoli, and season them with salt and pepper. Don’t be shy either, you want a good amount of salt/pepper for this.

Stick the baking sheet in the oven, and give the vegetables a stir after 20 minutes.

Let the vegetables roast for another 20, then take them out.

Once you get to that 20 minute mark, start in on your onions and mushrooms, and start cooking your quinoa. The quinoa box or burlap sack or whatever those Trader Joe’s people put quinoa in these days should have instructions, but in case it doesn’t: 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water, pinch of salt. Boil it, bring it down to a simmer, cover it, and cook for 20 minutes. Got it? Good.

Mince the garlic and onions, and cut your mushrooms into quarters.

Heat up a couple tablespoons of olive oil over medium heat in a large pan, and saute the garlic and a few heavy shakes of red pepper flakes for a minute.

Throw the onions in and saute those for another 3 or 4 minutes.

Add the mushrooms and sherry, and raise the heat a bit to medium high. Keep cooking and occasionally stirring until the sherry is reduced, about 5 or so minutes more.

By now, the tomatoes and broccoli should be done roasting. Either that or you suck at telling time. In which case, learn how clocks work. They’re useful.

Fluff up the quinoa by whisking it with a fork, then add everything in there: onions, mushrooms, tomatoes, and broccoli. Hit it with a little salt and pepper, chop up those green onions (green parts only, nobody likes a mouthful of stem) and throw a pinch or two on top, and you’re done.

This week, we’ve got a song that probably sounds like what quinoa would sound like if it could play instruments. It’s Tomoya Tomita with “Ice Cream Island.” And it’s the 30 minute long version, since I know you’re gonna want to listen to this one a few hundred times.

Like I said up there, I’m not expecting you guys to jump out of your Cheeto-stained office chairs at this one. And that’s okay. Everything you cook doesn’t have to be a one-punch knockout, otherwise you’d get bored of being excited. Your poor little tastebuds would freak out every time you sit down for dinner, and that shit gets exhausting. You can’t have Christmas every day of the year, people. Just eat things that taste good.

‘Til next time.