Sunday, July 29, 2012

Summer's Bounty Quinoa

Summer is definitely one of my favorite times to cook because the quality and quantity of so many fruits and vegetables are at their peak. I received a large bunch of basil in my CSA box recently and wanted to come up with another way to use it besides in pasta. I ended up using quinoa as the base of the dish, combining it with a basil puree, and adding cherry tomatoes, corn, romano beans (similar to green beans, but slightly flatter and bigger), red onion, and some feta. The result was a flavorful, satisfying, healthy, and very summery dish that was equally good warm or at room temperature.

Summer's Bounty Quinoa
Serves 4 as a main dish, 6-8 as a side

Active Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 30 minutes

1 c. quinoa
2 c. water
2 c. packed fresh basil leaves
1 clove garlic, minced
Extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Black pepper
2 ears white corn, kernels cut off the cob
1 large red onion, peeled, halved, and thinly sliced
1 lb. romano beans or green beans, ends snapped or trimmed off, then chopped
1/2 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 c. feta cheese, crumbled

Put the quinoa and water into a medium sized saucepan, cover with a lid, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and simmer for 20-25 minutes, until liquid is absorbed.

Meanwhile, prep the vegetables. Then, in a large skillet, heat 1 T. olive oil over medium heat. Add the red onion and a pinch of salt and saute for about 7-10 minutes, or until softened. Set aside in a medium-sized bowl and cover with foil or a kitchen towel. Return the skillet to heat, add the corn and a pinch of salt and saute for 1-2 minutes, stirring, then remove from the pan and set aside in the bowl with the onion. In a small saucepan, bring some water to a boil for the beans. Cook for 3-4 minutes, then drain and add to the bowl with the onion and corn.

Add the basil, garlic, 1/2 t. kosher salt and 1/8 t. black pepper (or, a few grinds) to a food processor. Measure out 1/4 c. olive oil. Start the food processor, then slowly add in the olive oil until it comes together.  

When the quinoa is done, add the basil puree and stir to combine. Then, add in the reserved onion, corn, and beans as well as the tomatoes and feta and stir to combine. Season to taste for additional salt and pepper, garnish with a sprig of basil (if you have any left over) and serve.

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