Sunday, September 8, 2013

Quinoa with Roasted Brussels Sprouts, Leeks, and Almonds

This is one of my favorite dishes to make. I love how colorful it is and the smell of leek, and really, anything with Brussels Sprouts is a winner for me. This was the first time that I cooked with leek that wasn't already trimmed and washed for me, so I had to look it up online and found this video. Here are the basic steps:

1) Cut off most of the leafy part (which is tough and inedible) and slice the stalk length-wise down the middle.

2) After slicing the leek stalks into thin half moons, fill a bowl with cold water and put in the sliced leek. Wash the leeks around, making sure to get in between all of the layers. Transfer the leek by hand to a colander (do not pour the water in-- it'll get everything dirty again) to drain. 

Doing this for the first time reminded me of when my friend Dana and I cooked with Brussels sprouts for the first time. We didn't really know what we were doing (and I had never even had them before), so I thought it might be useful to have short tutorial on trimming those lovely little cabbages:

1) After rinsing off the sprouts, trim the bottom off. This is hard and inedible and makes the next step easier.

2) Remove the loose layers of the sprout. These dark, bitter leaves aren't very good to eat, and several layers may come off. You should remove only so many leaves to reveal a light green sprout on the inside.

These two steps are the most involved with this recipe, and without taking photos I imagine it wouldn't take that long at all to wash and trim both of these veggies. 

Nutty smelling quinoa is my favorite grain to cook with!

Veggies, nuts, and berries ready for roasting!

My friend Alex and her dinosaur husband Matt called while everything was starting to smell delicious!

Hot and slightly burnt! Whoops. I also forgot to slice the sprouts. Double whoops.

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water 
1 leek, washed, trimmed, sliced
1 lb. Brussels sprouts, washed, trimmed, halved (or quartered, if large)
1/4 cup slivered blanched almonds (I used regular almonds with no issues)
1/4 cup plump golden raisins, packed (cranberries or purple raisins work fine, too)
4 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
Sea salt, to taste
2 garlic cloves, minced
2 teaspoons dried dill

Add the quinoa and water to a pot. Cover, bring to a boil, and cook the quinoa until all the water is absorbed, about 40 minutes.
Meanwhile- preheat the oven to 400ºF.
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 15 to 20 minutes, stirring at least once, until the Brussels sprouts are tender, and browned a bit.
Remove the pan from the oven. Drizzle with 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.

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