Heather’s Quinoa

Heather’s Quinoa Recipe

This recipe is an odd bird of sorts, but it was so well received that I thought I'd share it with you. Heather, my sister was on her way over for lunch. Wanting to avoid a trip to the store, I committed myself to throwing lunch together using whatever I had on hand. Now, I rarely combine tofu with Italian-style sauces, but this (and a few other questionable culinary moves) came into play as I reached for ingredients from both fridge and freezer. Working toward a nutritious, somewhat balanced, in-the-realm-of-healthy main course here's where I ended up. In a sentence - a skillet of quinoa, corn, chopped lacinato kale and pan-toasted tofu tossed with a big dollop of pesto and finished off with a few roasted cherry tomatoes.

I'd make it again, and I might even make it again swapping in paneer cheese for all or part of the tofu. I happened to use quinoa here, but really, you can use just about any grain you have on hand. Wayne brought home a packet of ready-to-eat brown rice from Trader Joe's the other day which would have easily worked in place of the quinoa here. You could remix this a hundred different ways depending on what grains, vegetables, and nut/seeds you have on hand. Maybe I should have titled it A Quinoa Recipe for Heather, but I think I'll make it for her again (hopefully often), so from here on out I'll think of it as Heather's Quinoa.

Safe travels home Heather, miss you. -h

Heather's Quinoa Recipe

If you don't have the time or inclination to roast cherry tomatoes, substitute some chopped, moist, sun-dried tomatoes. Also, a delicious alternative to the tofu in this recipe might be paneer cheese which can stand up to the heat without losing its form. Vegans can leave out the Parmesan in the pesto and make it more of a basil-nut drizzle - still tasty, and a good fit for this recipe.

a splash of extra-virgin olive oil
a pinch of fine grain sea salt
1 shallot, minced
3 cups cooked quinoa* (or brown rice, or other grain)
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 1/2 cups kale, spinach or other hearty green, finely chopped
2 cups extra-firm nigari tofu, browned in a skillet a bit
1/3 cup pesto
1/3 cup pumpkin seeds, toasted
1/4 cup roasted cherry tomatoes** (or chopped sun-dried tomatoes)

In a big skillet or pot heat the olive oil and salt over medium-high heat. Stir in the shallot and cook for a minute or two. Stir in the quinoa and corn and cook until hot and sizzling. Stir in the kale and then the tofu, cooking until tofu is heated through. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in the pesto and pumpkin seeds. Mix well so the pesto is spread throughout. Turn everything out onto a platter and top with the cherry tomatoes.

Serves 4 - 6.

*Rinse about 2 cups quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. In a medium saucepan heat the quinoa and 4 cups water until boiling. Reduce heat and simmer until water is absorbed and quinoa fluffs up, about 15 minutes. Quinoa is done when you can see the curlique in each grain, and it is tender with a bit of pop to each bite. Drain any extra water and set aside.

** To roast cherry tomatoes: Heat oven to 350F degrees. Cut each tomato in half and arrange in a large oven-proof baking dish. Mix together a big splash of olive oil, a spoonful of brown sugar, and a few pinches of salt - pour this over the tomatoes. Gently toss them a bit, making sure they all get coated, finishing with each tomato facing cut-side up. Place in the oven and bake for 45 mintutes or so, until the tomatoes are shrunken and sweet.

If you make this recipe, I'd love to see it - tag it #101cookbooks on Instagram!

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Comments

  • Wow, this looks superb.

    Erica
  • I just wanted to say, your site has helped me so much with my goal of eating veggies on a regular basis. (Me and my hubby love brussel sprouts now! Who would have thought!) And I just recently decided to incorporate whole grains, so you're going to help with that too! Thanks Heidi!

    Annabelle
  • Thanks for a really satisfying quinoa recipe.

    Barberini
  • This is SO what I got in my CSA box this week. Can't wait to add it to quinoa (a family fave/staple). Yum!

    jld
  • Sweet jesus this was just what I was looking for you are such a mind reader

    Ali
  • I bet paneer or even halloumi would be awesome in this. I love that you used pumpkin seeds where so many tend to use pine nuts. I love them, but they are all too often a go-to nut in these types of dishes.

    Erin
  • I have some cherry tomatoes on my table begging me to make this.

    Susy
  • yum! what perfect timing! i was trying to figure out what to make for dinner tonight and just happened upon your new post! i made a few adjustments, based on what was in my fridge (brown rice, not quinoa; spinach, not kale) -- it was delish! thanks for such a good treat.

    brandi
  • Quinoa is so delicious, that only a pat of butter is needed, but treat it as if it were fried rice, and it is sublime. We are wondering if it could be ground into flour for gluten free Communion Bread to be mixed with butter and water, patted out, cut into tiny squares, and baked. Any ideas?

    Nicky Smith
  • How creative, that looks delish!

    Aissa Galoso
  • We are having your roast tomato soup for dinner tonight Heidi and this would be great for a busy Monday night. Thanks again Heidi and hope your sister has a great journey. With this sort of food I should think that she would want to rush back actually.

    Lynette
  • I love these kinds of recipes where you can change the ingredients with whatever you have around. I want to try it with barley or wild rice.

    Fit Bottomed Girls
  • That picture is beautiful and the dish sounds yummy-very creative!

    Kiersten
  • Paneer would be a great substitute for the tofu. Such a yummy sounding and rustic looking meal.

    Jenn
  • I just roasted up a bunch of orange and red cherry tomatoes, so plan to try this recipe pronto. I also just made Nikki's cookies this morning and can't... stop... eating them! Thanks for posting it, Heidi. I wrote up my experience making them on my site.

    Maggie
  • This looks delish. I love quinoa. Thank you for the recipe and the fabulous pictures. I think I'm going to sneek this in the hospital to my sister in law who just had a baby.....I can't subject to that nasty hospital food! The vegetarian menu is awful!

    Tai
  • This week's lunch, I think. Thank you!

    Wendy
  • Hello Heidi, In my eyes there is nothing odd or questionable about this recipe - in fact the dish sounds (and looks) fab and exciting! I love the way tofu can pair with everything and anything, on its own and not as a substitute for something else. p.s. Love the plate!

    chika
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