Healthy Quinoa Vegetable Stew
Quinoa has been around for a very long time now; this grain-like seed of a plant related to spinach, Swiss chard, and beets was cultivated by the Incas long before the arrival of Europeans in the Americas, but has only recently started making inroads in North America.
This tasty and highly nutritious food tends to win over most people who try it and as a result, quinoa is being seen more and more commonly in homes and at restaurants all around the world, especially in the US and Canada. Containing almost all of the essential amino acids, quinoa is often thought of as a health food and, while it is indeed healthy, it would be a mistake to think of it as something to be eaten only for its nutritional value.
This vegetarian quinoa stew recipe is a delicious side dish or entrée, which is ideal for cold winter weather, yet light enough to be served at any time of the year. Try serving this recipe along with a green salad for a flavorful, healthy, and vegetarian lunch or dinner.
Quinoa is the main ingredient in the dish, and then you have plenty of fresh produce, which is common in many Mexican recipes, since Mexican cooks are passionate about using fresh produce in their dishes. The recipe calls for carrot, zucchini, onion, potato, and bell pepper, but feel free to use whichever vegetables you like. It is good to go for plenty of contrasting colors too, because that offers a very appetizing result.
In addition to the quinoa and vegetables, you will be using garlic and cilantro to add aromatic flavor. This is a very simple recipe in some ways, just combining a starch with veggies and a couple of basic flavors, but do not underestimate the appeal of such a simple dish. You will find this delicious whether you serve it as a side dish alongside chicken leg quarters or your favorite steak, or simply as a rustic meal in its own right.
- 2 cups quinoa
- 6 cups water
- 1 carrot, sliced into thick coins
- 1 medium zucchini, sliced into thick coins
- 1 medium white or yellow onion, diced
- 1 sweet potato, cubed (may be substituted with 1 cup cooked, diced winter squash)
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 4-5 cloves garlic, minced
- Chopped fresh cilantro, for garnish
- Salt and black pepper, to taste
- Olive or vegetable oil, for sautéing
- This first step is optional, but will provide your quinoa stew with a more intensely nutty and deeper flavor. Dry toast the quinoa by heating it in a skillet over medium heat for about five minutes, stirring constantly to avoid burning.
- Other than this step, if you have ever made any sort of soup or stew before, then this recipe will not be much of a stretch for you to prepare.
- Begin by sautéing the vegetables in oil in a stockpot until the onions turn translucent, stirring regularly. Add 3 cups of the water, cover and bring to a simmer for 15-20 minutes. What you are doing here is creating a vegetable stock for your quinoa to cook in.
- Add the quinoa to the stock, along with the remainder of the water and bring to a boil before covering again and reducing to a simmer for 15-20 minutes or until the quinoa is tender. Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve with chopped cilantro as a garnish.
Nutritious vegetarian quinoa stew served in a bowl garnished with chopped cilantro leaves. The beauty of this dish is its nearly endless adaptability. You can make this dish exactly as it is in this recipe or you can introduce just about any kind of variation you like.
Try substituting different seasonal vegetables (for instance, use squash instead of or along with the sweet potato and carrots and kale instead of zucchini in the winter) or changing up the spices and garnishes to match whatever kind of flavors you and your family is in the mood for at the moment.
No matter what mix of ingredients and spices you choose to include in this simple quinoa stew recipe, you will end up with a delicious, nutritious, and still very sophisticated stew, which is suitable for all occasions. Healthy and vegetarian as well as great tasting – what is not to like?
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