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Spring finally feels like it is here (or maybe summer…it’s in the mid 80’s in Georgia today!) and farmer’s markets are a bustling place on Saturday mornings! If you are in need of a healthy side dish or need to clean out your fridge of a random assortment of vegetables from your last trip, you must try this recipe!
There are so many things I adore about this dish:
#1. I love quinoa (and shared some of the health benefits associated with it in this post.)
#2. It is BEAUTIFUL! Look how colorful and bright the red of the tomatoes is when paired against the vibrant yellow corn and deep green spinach! You just know it is going to taste delicious.
#3. The homemade “dressing” is actually oil-free. The lemon juice and zest make the quinoa tangy and delicious.
#4. You can use whatever vegetables you have on hand…thus the title of the recipe! Extra zucchini, squash, bell peppers, onions, mushrooms, etc., are all welcome to this skillet quinoa. Herbs too. Fresh basil, oregano, parsley…or dried. Whatever. The quinoa provides a blank canvas for you to be as creative as you would like to be!
While I do not think this dish is complicated or labor-intensive, keep in mind it will take at least 25 minutes to make because the quinoa requires 20. Once the veggies are sauteed and the quinoa is cooked, combine them in a giant skillet with the dressing and serve.
This can easily be a main dish for vegetarians (use vegetable broth or water instead of chicken broth), and even vegan by using agave nectar instead of honey and omitting the feta cheese. As a side dish this serves about 7 people, so it is perfect for a large family or if you would like to have leftovers throughout the week!
Farmer’s Market Quinoa
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 3/4 cup low-sodium fat free chicken broth (or vegetable broth, or water)
- 1 tablespoon EVOO
- 2-3 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups fresh baby spinach (or zucchini, etc.)
- 2 ears or about 1 1/2 cups sweet corn (if using canned, rinse and drain first)
- 2 green onions, chopped
- 2 vine-ripened tomatoes, chopped
- 1/2 cup reduced fat crumbled feta
- 2 tablespoons fresh basil, chopped (or 1 tablespoon dried)
For the Honey Lemon Vinaigrette:
- 1 tablespoon lemon zest
- 2 tablespoons freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons honey
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced or microplaned
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 1/4 tsp pepper
1). In a medium sauce pan, bring chicken broth to a boil. Add quinoa, cover, and reduce heat to low. Let simmer for about 20 minutes or until broth is absorbed.
2) For the vinaigrette: whisk all ingredients together in a small bowl. Set aside.
3). In a large skillet, heat olive oil over medium heat. Add garlic and sautee for about 30 seconds. Add corn, green onions, fresh spinach and season with salt and pepper. Sautee until barely tender, about 4 minutes. Add cooked quinoa and half the honey lemon vinaigrette. Stir and cook for about 1 more minute.*
4) Add remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, feta cheese, and basil to the skillet. Mix well and taste for seasoning preferences. Enjoy!
*If you want to make this a cold salad, cool cooked quinoa and veggies separately, then mix with the remaining vinaigrette, tomatoes, feta cheese, and basil, and chill completely.
Serves: about 7 as a side dish. Nutritional Information per Serving: Calories: 184. Fat: 5g Carbs: 28g Protein: 6g Sodium: 160 mg