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Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

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.

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

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.

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

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.

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas | Relishing It

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!

Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas| Relishing It

The Recipe: Quinoa Bake with Broccoli and Chickpeas

(serves 4)

olive oil

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!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

Laurie

 

 

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Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

So now that school is out, I’m trying to get my bearings straight.  We are four days into summer vacation, and while I am more than thrilled to have my son home all day long, it’s not without its…complications.  Aanen has this amazing contagious personality– he is truly a joy to be around.  He and his sister get along swimmingly.   And I love not having to pack his lunch every morning and rush him off to school.  Mornings around our house are brilliant.  However…it’s the rest of the day that gets a bit more hectic.  We’re I’m missing my schedule.  I knew exactly how much I could squeeze into a day and how much I could get done.  Now play dates, outings, parks, and pools have all taken its place.  And though I absolutely love all of these things, it’s hard to get any real work done.  I know I’m not unique in this situation or these feelings, but it sure feels good to ramble on about it.

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing it

So how does that tie-in to today’s post?  Well, in the hustle and bustle of our summers we tend to eat much simpler food.  It’s easy to do with all of the fresh produce, so I’m absolutely fine with it.  I’ll often make a huge salad or two at the beginning of the week from legumes and grains and we’ll nibble on it for a few days.  It works well when we’re constantly running out the door.  This salad in particular keeps well.  And it’s absolutely perfect to pack for picnics.

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

I’ve always been a fan of chickpeas.  They’re loaded with protein, and they’re substantial enough to turn a salad into a meal.  If you’re not familiar with black rice, give it a chance.  Here’s a previous dish that I made using it.  I love black rice, sometimes called “forbidden rice”.   It’s nutty and similar in taste to wild rice.  It’s loaded with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fiber.  You can read more about it here.  I realize that some of you may not the able to find black rice and that’s ok.  Quinoa is also a wonderful substitute and is loaded with its own health benefits.  Radishes give this meal a nice little crunch and they are so wonderful this time of year.  The preserved lemon adds a burst of brightness that makes you smile every time you bite into a tiny piece.  If you haven’t made preserved lemons yet, do it now.  They add so much to summer salads.  Here’s a recipe from my blog.  Or you can do the salt pack method, which is how I made this last batch.  This is a recipe for that method.  Obviously, if you don’t have preserved lemons on hand, you should still give this salad a try.  The parsley and subtle shallot vinaigrette bring all of the flavor together and I love the fact that it’s so healthy!  Makes me feel better about all of the ice cream that my kids are devouring.  Hope you enjoy!

Chickpea and Black Rice Salad via Relishing It

The Recipe:  Chickpea and Black Rice Salad with a Shallot Vinaigrette

2 cups dried chickpeas, cooked (see note)

1 cup black rice, cooked  (see note)

1 bunch radishes, chopped

2 tablespoons finely chopped preserved lemon

1 bunch Italian parsley, chopped

For the Shallot Vinaigrette:

1 -2 tablespoons finely chopped shallot, or red onion

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice, from 2 small lemons

1 tablespoon white wine vinegar (champagne or plain rice vinegar can also be substituted)

about 1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil, or a bit more

sea salt and cracked pepper, to taste

Note:  To cook dried chickpeas, place in a large saucepan covered with cold, salted water.  Bring to a boil.  Let boil for a few minutes.  Cover and turn off the heat.  Let sit for 1-2 hours.  Bring to a boil again and cook for a few more minutes until they are your desired tenderness.  To make the black rice, place in a large saucepan and cover with cold, salted water by a couple inches.  Bring to a boil, then reduce heat just a bit.  Let cook until the rice is tender (about 25 minutes).  Drain the water.

To make the Shallot Vinaigrette:  Place the chopped shallot in a bowl, or jar, and sprinkle with a little salt.  Pour the vinegar and lemon juice on top and let soften for about 15 minutes.  Then whisk in the olive oil, or give the jar a shake.  Season to taste with salt and pepper.  Place in the refrigerator, let it warm up for a few minutes before you plan to use it.

Place the rice and chickpeas into a large serving bowl along with the parsley, radishes, and preserved lemon.  Pour as much dressing over the salad as you like.  Start with a little and add more, you will not need to use the entire amount that you made.  Toss the ingredients together and let the flavors meld for a bit.  You can even refrigerate it and let it warm a bit before serving.  This salad will keep well for days.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It!

xo

Laurie

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White Chili via Relishing It

If you’ve spent much time with me here on Relishing It, you already know that I love spending time in the kitchen, working my way through an intricate recipe.  Not much makes me happier than pouring through ingredients in the afternoon sun, with the sound of my little ones playing in the next room.  Yes, that’s my heaven.  But of course, the sun doesn’t stream through the windows much here in January, and– let’s be honest– kids generally have a way of needing something every 15 minutes.  So I often have to be more realistic, and for that I love turning to one-pot meals.  This white chili is a great meal that doesn’t require much attention.  It’s hot, healthy, delicious, and best of all, mostly tends to itself.  Perfect for a cold Sunday afternoon when you’re busy playing inside, or (lucky you) when you get a chance to just settle into the couch with a good book.

Dried Beans via Relishing It

We eat more than our fair share of chili here in the cold months.  I like that it’s relatively healthy, and that I get a chance to experiment with different ingredients and flavor combinations.  Last weekend I made a batch with cubed beef, dark chocolate, toasted cumin seed, an oyster stout beer, and dried ancho chiles that I toasted and ground myself.  Loved it!  But enough about that (for now).  Today’s recipe is for my favorite version of white chili.  I prefer this style to not be too heavy.  If you’ve ordered it in a restaurant, you probably know what I’m talking about.  To get the right consistency, I smash a few of the beans as a thickener, and then use evaporated milk to give it a nice creaminess.  The chickpeas have a wonderful, firm texture that holds up well, while the white cannellini beans add a nice silkiness.  The combination is sublime.  A generous squeeze of lime into the pot for the finish gives it vibrancy and freshness.

White Chili via Relishing It

White Chili via Relishing It

The Recipe: White Chili

(serves at least 4)

1 pound chicken breast, cubed OR about 2 cups shredded roasted chicken (see note 1)

2-3 tablespoons olive oil

1/2 large white onion, chopped

1 jalapeño, finely chopped

1 large poblano pepper, chopped

3 garlic cloves, finely chopped

1 1/3 cups dried chickpeas, soaked OR two 15 ounce cans (see note 2)

1 1/3 cups cannellini beans, soaked OR two 15 ounce cans (see note 2)

1 quart chicken broth

3 tablespoons ground cumin

2 teaspoons ground coriander

1 can evaporated milk

juice of 1/2 – 1 lime, to taste

kosher salt and cracked black pepper

cilantro, lime, green onions, and white cheddar cheese for garnishes

Note 1:  If you choose to use shredded roasted chicken, do not add it to the chili immediately or it will fall apart.  Add it after you purée some of the beans near the end of the cooking time.  Make sure it has enough time to warm through.

Note 2:  Soaking the beans overnight in the refrigerator is one way to prepare the beans ahead of time.  However, if that isn’t possible, place the dried chickpeas and cannellini beans in a large pot and cover with a few inches of water and a couple teaspoons of salt.  Bring the water to a boil.  Cover and remove from heat and let sit for at least two hours.  At this point, check the beans for doneness.  If they are not quite done, you may want to bring them back to a boil once again for a few minutes to soften up a bit more (I find that the chickpeas take a little longer). If you add them to the chili and they are not fully tender, they will soak up a bit more of the liquid.  When they are your preferred texture, drain and set aside.

In a large Dutch oven over medium-high heat, add the olive oil. When it is hot, add the chicken and a sprinkle of salt and pepper.  Brown for a few minutes until cooked through.  Remove the chicken from pan.  To the same pan add a bit more olive oil, if necessary, and the poblano pepper, jalapeño, onions, and garlic.  Sauté for a few minutes until somewhat tender.  Return the chicken to the pan, along with the cumin and coriander.  Cook for 1 minute and then add the chicken stock, chickpeas and cannellini beans.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low-medium and cook for about 30 minutes – 1 hour.  More if the beans need extra time to soften, less if they don’t.

When the texture of the chili seems right to you, remove about 1 1/2 cups of beans from the pot and place in a shallow bowl.  Use a fork to smash the beans and make smooth.    This will help thicken the chili naturally.  Return the smashed beans to the pot.  Add the evaporated milk and cook uncovered  for a few minutes longer.   Add the juice of 1/2 of a lime to start, and more if you choose.  Taste and re-season with salt and pepper, if necessary.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping in today! xo
Laurie

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Minneapolis/St. Paul was buzzing this weekend.  There were so many things going on!  On Saturday alone, the Twins won, U2 played an amazing outdoor set in the driving rain, the summer Aquatennial festival wrapped up with fireworks, and one of our favorite bands– local blue-grass boys Trampled By Turtles– put on a fantastic concert.  While Radd and I only had time to catch the last of those events, we had a great night.  My brother and sister-in-law took in both the baseball game and the U2 show, and said both had this incredible vibe.  What a great weekend!  It makes me so happy to live here.

How does this relate to food?  No clue, but I’ll do my best to tie them together.  Summer is a busy time and often you need quick, healthy meals that you can simply pull from the fridge–or ones that you can make at the beginning of the week and eat over several meals.  For that, I offer you this filling, fabulous salad.  Quinoa (KEEN-wa) is one of my favorite grains.  It’s quick, easy and sooo healthy.  Chickpeas are a nice compliment, as they’re full of protein, healthy, and don’t leave you hungry.  There’s real heft to this salad– you’ll know you’re eating something substantial.  I used black quinoa in this version, but you can use whichever kind you have.  As for the recipe, think of it more as a list of suggestions– play around a bit to find the mix that you like best.  Add ingredients that are your favorites, or that you simply have on hand.  Fresh cucumbers come to mind.  Also, while I love mixing fresh garden lettuces into the salad, if I know I’m going to have leftovers I don’t mix them into the whole batch.  The lettuce tends to wilt.  Instead, add it to the other ingredients just prior to serving.     Hope you enjoy– let me know what wonderful combinations you come up with!

The Recipe:  Summer Quinoa and Chickpea Salad

1 cup black quinoa, rinsed

1 cup dried chickpeas, cooked

1 cup small cherry tomatoes, halved

1/3 cup ricotta salata cheese, cubed

Fresh garden greens, torn

Fresh herbs, such as basil, parsley, mint, or thyme

Red Wine Vinaigrette

1 clove garlic, minced

1/4 cup of red wine vinegar

1 teaspoon Dijon Mustard

1/2 cup (or more to taste) of extra-virgin olive oil

salt and pepper

sprinkle of sugar, if desired

To make the chickpeas:  Place them in a medium saucepan and cover with water.   Bring to a rolling boil.  Boil for one minute and remove from heat.  Cover with lid.  Leave the chickpeas in the pan of water, covered for 2 hours.  After that, check for tenderness.  Cook a bit longer if needed.  Drain and sprinkle with a tiny bit of kosher salt.   Allow to cool.  (Note:  Feel free to make more than needed for the recipe and keep extras in the freezer.  They are a wonderful addition to many salads, or like my two year old daughter– you can just eat them for a snack.)

To make the quinoa:  Rinse quinoa and place in a medium saucepan.  Add 1 – 3/4 cup water to the pan.  Bring to a boil.  Turn heat down to a simmer.  When most, but not all of the water is absorbed, remove from heat and cover.  Forget about it for a for about 10-15 minutes.   All of the water should be absorbed and the quinoa should easily fluff with a fork.  Cool.

To make the Vinaigrette:  Add all of the ingredients in a bowl except the olive oil.   Slowly whisk in the olive oil.  Taste.  Adjust seasonings, if necessary.

To assemble the salad:  Place chickpeas, quinoa, tomatoes, ricotta salata cheese, herbs, and torn lettuce into a bowl.  Pour most of the dressing over the salad (I usually reserve some because I dislike a salad that contains too much dressing — more can be added, but never taken away).  Gently fold the  ingredients together.  Enjoy!

Thanks for stopping by Relishing It today — see you soon!

Laurie

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