When I’m developing a new recipe for a meal there are two criteria that generally need to be met. First, the recipe has to be mostly healthy. Since I’m the main person that pumps food into my family, I need it to be loaded with nutrients. Second– and this is the tricky one– I need it to be a meal that my family actually likes and will eat. Finding this balance is often a challenge, but today’s recipe was spot-on.
Luckily for me, my family actually likes broccoli. Seriously. So, if I toss that into a dish I’m already one step to the good. Here, I also relied on chickpeas for the protein and the texture. And quinoa is one of my favorite things to build a meal around. It cooks quickly, has a nice nutty flavor, and happens to be loaded with protein, as well. Though it looks like a grain, quinoa is actually a seed–so it is gluten-free.
This isn’t a heavy bake loaded with cream or lots of cheese. It’s simple and clean, if you will. Aside from the main components of the dish, the subtle flavors of garlic and lemon really come through and work so well together. I like to use my homemade chicken broth here because I always have it on hand and I love its flavor. However, if you are vegetarian, feel free to use vegetable broth. Finishing it with parmesan cheese that has become golden and chopped almonds for the texture is perfect.
One of the best parts about this dish just how easy it is to prepare. From start to finish, your family will be eating dinner in about 30 minutes. That’s not bad, especially considering most of that time it is in the oven. And you can feel good about the fact that every bite is healthy for them. Hope you enjoy!
The Recipe: Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas
2 cups chopped broccoli
3 garlic cloves, finely minced
1 small red onion, finely chopped (about 1/3 cup)
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
13-15 ounces cooked chickpeas (about 1 1/3 cup)
1 cup dry quinoa, rinsed (any color will work)
zest of 1 large lemon
1 1/2 cups chicken broth (heated)
kosher salt and cracked pepper, to taste
handful of parmesan (about 1/2 – 3/4 cup)
handful of chopped roasted almonds, for garnish
Preheat oven to 450°F.
Heat olive oil in a cask-iron skillet, or anything similar. Sauté the onion, garlic, broccoli, and chickpeas for about 3 minutes. Sprinkle with about 1 teaspoon of salt and some cracked pepper. Then add the lemon zest, parsley, quinoa, and heated broth. Make sure all of the quinoa is covered by the broth. Cover with foil and place in the oven.
Bake for about 20 minutes, or until the quinoa has absorbed all of the liquid and is tender. Remove from oven. Place oven rack near the broiler and turn it on. Sprinkle parmesan over the quinoa and return to oven uncovered. Broil for just a couple of minutes until the parmesan has turned golden brown. Keep a watchful eye, as it can burn quickly. Remove from oven and sprinkle with chopped almonds before serving. Leftovers can be kept in the refrigerator and reheated easily. Enjoy!
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