Lemon-Thyme Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Salad

I spent all day thinking about this dinner. I realize to some people that might be a little obsessive, but I knew I had quinoa and a random assortment of vegetables at home, and I wanted to make something that would use up what I had on hand but not feel like a dumping ground for odds and ends. I wanted it to be well put-together, satisfying, and delicious.

It’s kind of like when you were in middle school and wanted to talk to the boy you liked, so you’d agonize all day over what to say to seem cute and fun, not clingy and desperate. Middle school was so awkward. Anyway…

Roasting the mushrooms, red onion, and zucchini together in a little olive oil with salt and pepper bring out complex flavors in all three, and the lemon and thyme in the dressing bring a bright summer freshness that is hard to beat. With quinoa, the protein-packed super-grain, and some white beans for added protein and fiber, this is an awesome main course dish that will definitely keep you satisfied. For those of you that eat meat, you could always leave out the beans and serve it alongside grilled chicken or shrimp. I’m also thinking that for summer, grilled vegetables would be a seasonally-appropriate stand-in for roasted…whatever works for you!

Recipe:
2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa

1 large zucchini, cut into 1″ chunks
10-12 large button mushrooms, quartered
1 red onion, cut into wedges
2 tbsp olive oil
salt and pepper

1 can (or about 1 1/2 cups cooked) navy or canellini beans, rinsed and drained

juice of 1 large lemon (2-3 tbsp)
1 tsp dried thyme
salt and pepper
2 tbsp olive oil
1 small shallot, finely chopped

Preheat the oven to 400 F.
Toss the zucchini, mushrooms, and onion with olive oil, salt and pepper, and spread on a baking sheet. Bake for about 40 minutes or until all vegetables are tender. Remove and set aside.

While the vegetables are roasting, cook the quinoa. Bring the broth to a boil in a medium saucepan, then add the quinoa. Cover and turn to low, cooking for about 15 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. Remove the cover, transfer to a large bowl and fluff with a fork.

Mix together the dressing ingredients (lemon juice, thyme, salt and pepper, olive oil, and shallot) and toss with the quinoa. Add the beans and vegetables, toss a few more times, and serve.

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