From Chef Oonagh Williams of Gluten-Free Cooking with Oonagh
This is one of our favorite dishes, great for meatless Mondays, vegetarians, using whatever combinations of vegetables and seasonings you want. We're not vegetarians, but thankfully both my husband and son happily eat many vegetables, and most of the time we use meat as the seasoning in the Mediterranean way. Start the New Year off with some healthier, tasty meals like this one.
Watch the clip of me making this dish on New Hampshire's ABC WMUR TV on my Facebook page.
- 2 Tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
- 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
- 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely crushed
- 1 medium zucchini (Courgette), quartered lengthwise and cut into ½ inch (1 cm) pieces
- 1 medium yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into ½ inch pieces
- ½ red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1-2 inch squares (2.5-5 cm) (you can use green or yellow peppers, I just use red for sweeter flavor and different color)
- 4 large mushrooms, cleaned, halved and sliced
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Add 1-3 cups cooked quinoa
- Heat oil in skillet big enough to take vegetables and cooked quinoa.
- Add onions and cook over medium heat until they start softening.
- Add zucchini, squash, garlic, red pepper, salt and pepper. Cook until as soft or crisp as you like.
- Add mushrooms and cook for additional 1-2 minutes.
- Stir in cooked quinoa, turn off heat and leave to sit, covered, for a few minutes while flavors blend.
- Add as much of the cooked quinoa as you like. I like to keep cooked quinoa in the fridge for quick meals, salads, to add to soups, etc., as it reheats well.
Optional: Add some chopped cashews and feta cheese on top. My husband likes these options and he thinks many dishes are better with feta and cashews!
Tips for Preparing Quinoa
I always rinse my raw quinoa in a fine sieve, which I bought after my son was diagnosed with celiac disease. It only cost a few dollars in the grocery store. Quinoa is so tiny it will fall through a regular sieve. Even though some packets of quinoa will tell you it has been pre rinsed, I still rinse it to get rid of the smell and taste of saponin, a natural insect repellent found on the quinoa grains. Put quinoa in the sieve and run cold water through it for a few minutes. I frequently rub the grains at the same time.
- Put 1 cup raw rinsed quinoa and 2 cups cold water or gluten-free chicken or beef stock in a saucepan.
- Bring to a full boil, cover and reduce heat to a simmer, cook for 10 minutes. Then turn the heat off, leave the pan on the same hot burner to allow residual heat in the pot to continue cooking the quinoa for another 5 minutes. (By the way, this does work on an induction burner. There’s no need to stir or lift the cover on the pan during the cooking process, but remember to remove the pan from the burner and remove the lid at the end of the 5 minutes ‘sitting’ time.)
- Makes 3 cups of cooked quinoa. You might find that you prefer the quinoa to be softer, so add a bit more water for cooking and also let it sit a bit longer to get the consistency you prefer. I also find that if you have quinoa that has sat in the cupboard a bit longer, then it has dried out more and needs more water and cooking - same as dried beans.
This is my go to version, but I added some sun-dried tomato strips and sliced baby corn, but think of other variations:
- Add artichokes and eggplant with lots of lemon and oregano for Greek style
- Artichokes, eggplant, sun dried tomato with basil pesto
- Different bell peppers, some spicy peppers, fresh grape tomatoes left whole so they pop in your mouth and cilantro finished with guacamole
- Any of these vegetables with some curry paste,
- Add some tamari sauce, baby corn, snow peas and sesame oil
- Roasted butternut squash (and some bacon, pancetta) with caramelized onions
- Add leftover cooked sausage, ham, chicken for those that like meat at every meal