It might be love.
If you've been hanging with me for awhile here on Gluten-Free Goddess, you already know how much we dig quinoa. It's one of our favorite gluten-free grains. I've grown to love- even crave- quinoa's distinct smoky-nutty flavor. More assertive than rice or oatmeal, the taste of quinoa gives gluten-free baked goods and grainy side dishes a certain je ne sais quoi that feels nourishing, healthy, and satisfying all at once.
In a very understated, happy blue skies kind of way, I mean.
Not in a pious eat-this-it's-good-for-you kind of way.
Though I'm sure there are plenty of quinoa converts that proselytize its admirable qualities in the nutrition arena (and why not? Its protein profile is a vegan's wet dream) I prefer to love my quinoa on its own unassuming terms. Even though folks have dubbed her Queen of Grains and Mother of all Vegan Goodness in the Bunny Scampering Universe, I love her just because. Without projection. Without expectation. Or assumption.
I meet quinoa where she stands. I accept her for who she is. In all her cute as a button faux grain glory. After all, her botanical name is Goosefoot. Not a very glamorous moniker. Imagine being saddled with that one.
Hey, you! Goosefoot.
That's right. I'm talking to you.
Sweet Mother Mary. Can you imagine? No wonder she chose to change her name. "Keen-wa" is so much sexier.
So Quinoa, honey. What are you doing tonight? Wanna come over? I've got some Adele.
You can even stay for breakfast.
Quinoa Recipe with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Leeks and Slivered Almonds
This elegant and easy grain dish is vegan and gluten-free. Plump golden raisins add a burst of sweetness. Slivered almonds add some crunch.
First- make your quinoa.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Sea salt, to taste
Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a fine sieve. Add the quinoa and water to a pot (or do it my way- in a rice cooker- here's how) and season with sea salt, to taste. Cover, bring to a boil, and cook the quinoa until all the water is absorbed and the quinoa can be fluffed with a fork.
Meanwhile- preheat the oven to 400ºF.
In a roasting pan, combine:
1 leek, washed, trimmed, sliced
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, halved (or quartered, if large)
1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds
1/4 cup plump golden raisins, packed
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons golden balsamic vinegar
Sea salt, to taste
1-2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried dill
2 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley, chopped
Sea salt and ground pepper, to taste
Toss the prepared leek, Brussels sprouts, almonds, and golden raisins in the olive oil. Sprinkle with golden balsamic vinegar. Season with sea salt, minced garlic and dill; and toss to coat. Roast for roughly 20 to 25 minutes, stirring at least once, until the Brussels sprouts are tender, and browned a bit.
Remove the pan from the oven. Add in the fluffed cooked quinoa and chopped parsley. Drizzle with fruity extra virgin olive oil, to taste. Add sea salt and ground pepper, to taste. Gently toss to combine the roasted Brussels sprouts and hot cooked quinoa.
Cook time: 1 hour
Yield: Serves 4
Use just-opened plump and juicy golden raisins in this dish- not those dried up, rock hard raisins you excavated from nether regions of your pantry. (In a pinch, you could rehydrate crusty raisins by soaking them in a little hot water for a few minutes, then drain well.)
Golden balsamic vinegar adds a bright, tart edge to this recipe, but if you don't have any on hand, you could use apple cider vinegar, rice, or Champagne vinegar- just be sure it tastes clean and fresh- not overpowering (and I know you know this, but, Darling, vinegar is also best when it hasn't been fermenting in your cupboard for a year and a half).
Remember, your recipe will only be as good as your ingredients.
More Brussels sprouts (and quinoa) recipes from food bloggers:
Golden Beets and Brussels Sprouts at Simply Recipes
Savory Roasted Brussels Sprouts at Gluten Free Gobsmacked
Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Balsamic, Parmesan, and Pine Nuts at Kalyn's Kitchen
Chickpea Quinoa Spinach Salad at Perfect Pantry