I’m usually pretty excited to get into the kitchen and create yummy dishes and try new recipes, but every so often I just get lazy. Then there are times when I’m uninspired or when my fridge is so bare that I don’t have enough ingredients to complete a recipe. Thankfully, I’m usually prepared for just such situations and I know that I can rustle up something. This is typically when the Kitchen Sink Quinoa recipe steps in–aptly named because you can throw in almost anything but the kitchen sink and you’re guaranteed to have a winner.
You may have heard of quinoa recently. Perhaps you’ve even had the pleasure of enjoying the extremely versatile little grain-like seeds. Quinoa certainly deserves all the buzz it’s been generating. Not only is it naturally gluten-free, but it’s also a wonderful source of protein, iron and potassium, making it an excellent post-workout snack or a good base for a big, filling meal.
In anticipation of my occasional laziness, I usually cook up a big batch of quinoa to keep in the fridge. Quinoa is a simple dish to prepare and cooks much like other grains and legumes. It’s important to rinse (or soak) quinoa before cooking in order to remove its’ bitter-tasting coating, called saponin. I personally prefer to soak the quinoa for at least 8 hours before I intend to cook it. This kind of preparation might sound like a pain, but it’s actually quite simple. I’ll usually place the quinoa in a container, cover it with water, and put it in the fridge before I go to bed/work. Then when I get up in the morning/come home from work, I just rinse the quinoa in a strainer and it’s good to go–that easy!
Because this is more of a throw-in-what-you’ve-got kinda thing than an actual recipe, the ingredient amounts are estimates and the ingredients can be easily modified to accommodate your preferences and what’s in your fridge. In fact, I substituted millet (another delicious gluten-free grain-like seed) for quinoa in the picture below and it turned out great!
- 1 cup water
- ½ cup quinoa
- 1 Tbs. coconut oil (olive and grapeseed oil will also work)
- ½ cup onion, chopped
- ¼ cup red bell pepper, chopped
- ¼ cup zucchini, chopped
- ½ cup mushrooms, sliced thin
- pinch of salt and pepper
- 2 Tbs. Bragg’s Liquid Aminos or gluten-free Tamari soy sauce
- To cook the quinoa, bring the water to a boil in a small to medium-sized sauce pan. Once the water begins to boil, turn the heat down to low and add the quinoa. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes. I know it’s hard but try not to peek. Check after 15 minutes to see if the water has been absorbed. Once it has, re-cover the pan and remove from heat. It’s best to let the quinoa sit for at least 5 minutes to allow it to really fluff.
- While the quinoa is cooking, chop up your veggies.
- Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet over medium-low to medium heat. Add the onions first and saute for about 5 minutes. Next, add the rest of your vegetables and the salt and pepper and saute until the veggies begin to soften. Add the mushrooms last and saute until soft, a few minutes more. *Please remember to constantly stir the veggies.
- Once the quinoa is done, add it to the sauteed veggies along with the soy sauce. Stir everything together and serve immediately.