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Quinoa with Broccoli

Are you doing a New Year’s de-tox diet?  It seems like more than a few of the folks I follow on Twitter and some others I’ve spoken to besides have decided to undertake this cleansing ritual to jump start their bodies in 2012.  I’m on the fence about this.  While each year I do abstain from eating something during Lent, and I have from time to time tried to cut back on certain foods in my diet (sweets, meat, alcohol, etc.), I’ve never done the fasting or juicing thing.  I’m not even sure how my body would react to it, but I have a feeling it wouldn’t be all that happy.

I came up with this dish for Quinoa with Broccoli as I think instead that one of the best ways to help out your body is to alternate between heavier and lighter meals and to try to balance out less healthy dishes with ones that are filled with the good things that keep your body going.  I eat out quite a bit at food festivals, markets, and events, so I don’t always accomplish that aim.  This year, I’m really going to try hard to make healthier dishes when I’m not running around trying out all the terrific artisan products or hanging out at amazing cook-offs.

Start off with these ingredients

One of my other goals for this year is to cook up all those random ingredients that are in my pantry.  Quinoa is one of those things that is really good for you, along with broccoli, and I need to be better about incorporating it into my diet to counter balance all those rich, creamy, gooey things that I love to eat.  This recipe is partly an adaptation of a method that I’ve used for years in cooking up broccoli or broccolini.  The addition of the quinoa adds some protein and extra fiber making this a great, quick lunchtime (or late evening) meal or a side dish.

Quinoa with Broccoli

Prep Time: 20 minutes or less

Serving Size: 1 person for 1-dish meal, 2 people as a side dish

Ingredients:

1/4 cup Quinoa

1 tsp. Olive Oil

1 clove Garlic, minced

1 large or 2 small Anchovy fillets in oil

1 c. Broccoli florets and stems, cut into 1/4-inch chunks

1 pinch Salt

2-3 grinds of Black Pepper

1 tsp. Lemon juice

1 pinch to 1/4 tsp. Red Pepper flakes

1 Tbsp. Pine Nuts

Parmesan Cheese

Extra Virgin Olive Oil (top quality drizzling oil)

Assembly:

Measure out quinoa and cook according to package directions.  In the meantime, prepare the broccoli, as the two components will end up being done at about the same time.

Quinoa cooking

Heat a small skillet over a low flame or burner.  Add olive oil.  Put in the minced garlic and let it cook for about 10 seconds before adding in the anchovies to release the flavor of the garlic.  With the back of a wooden spoon, mash up the anchovies into the oil and garlic so that there are no large pieces of fish.  The anchovies will add a depth of flavor to the dish without imparting a fishiness to it.

Adding anchovies

Add the broccoli and stir to mix in the garlic and anchovies.  Pour 1 tablespoon of water into the pan and cover it with a lid.  After 3 minutes, check to see if broccoli is cooked through by poking a floret with a knife.  If the knife passes through it easily, take off the cover and add salt and pepper to the broccoli.  Pour the lemon juice over the broccoli, add the red pepper flakes and pine nuts to the pan, and toss to mix together.

Broccoli cooking away

By this time, the quinoa should also be cooked.  Drain the quinoa of any extra water and add it to the pan with the broccoli.  Stir to combine everything.

Combining quinoa and broccoli

Transfer quinoa and broccoli to a shallow bowl or a plate.  Sprinkle a bit of parmesan cheese over the top and sparingly drizzle a little high-quality, extra-virgin olive oil onto as well.  Serve immediately.

Buon appetito!