Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Salad

I don't know about you, but some weeks just really kick my ass.  No matter how hard I try to get a good night's sleep, eat healthy food, fit in a run, keep my apartment looking semi-presentable, and still have time to get all my work done, sometimes I feel like I'm fighting a losing battle.  Those are the weeks that a little preparation on Sunday goes a long way to helping me survive until Friday.  Whenever I have a chance, I try to make a big batch of a flavorful, microwave-friendly dish that I can eat for lunch or dinner throughout the week.  This way, I know I'll save time, eat at least one healthy meal per day, and save a boat load of money by not buying takeout.

A few weekends ago, I was driving around the city with this girl trying to shop for some decent outfits for the plethora of weddings, showers, and graduations I'm attending this summer and mentioned a desire to make something different for my usual Sunday dish.  She's been eating super healthy and mentioned a great salad she had made with quinoa, brussels sprouts, and feta.  I decided to immediately steal adapt her idea and took it one step further by bumping up the amount of veggies.  Thanks, Calla!

What I really like about this salad is how adaptable it is.  You can easily swap out the vegetables for whatever you have on hand or with what is in season.  You can eat it hot or cold, as a side dish or as your main (so great that quinoa is a protein!).

To start, prepare your vegetables.  Slice the brussels sprouts in quarters (make sure to trim the ends and remove any bad outer leaves).  Peel the sweet potato and slice it into bite-sized pieces.  Pour both onto a greased cookie sheet, drizzle them with olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.

Bake them at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until they begin to brown.  I love when brussels sprouts are crispy!

While the vegetables are roasting, cook the quinoa.  For this recipe, I cooked it in vegetable broth instead of plain old water to give it more flavor.  I also used the little bouillon cubes to make the broth.  Homemade is always better, but it's so easy to keep these in the cupboard and they don't take up that much space.  Critical when you have a tiny kitchen.

The last thing to do, since it only takes a few minutes, is to sauté the kale.  Heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil in a large pan.  Add the garlic (I used 4 cloves because I can never have enough, but you can adjust it to your palette) and kale and sauté for about 5 minutes or until the kale is wilted.

Now all that's left is to mix it all together.  In a large bowl, mix the quinoa, brussels sprouts, sweet potato, kale, and feta until combined.  Serve it warm, either right away or reheated later.

And now you have lunch for the week!  Store single-servings in take-away containers and pull them out of the fridge when you're leaving in the morning.  Maybe it won't make your work day any easier or run 5 miles for you, but at least you have one thing taken care of, and I'll take what I can get!

Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Salad
Serves 5-6

1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth or water
2 - 3 cups quartered brussels sprouts (1 bag)
1 sweet potato, peeled and diced
4 - 5 leaves kale, chopped
2 - 4 cloves garlic, chopped
1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
Salt and pepper
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled

Prepare quinoa.  In a medium saucepan, add quinoa and broth and stir until combined. Bring to a boil and simmer on low heat for 15 minutes. Set aside.

Toss the brussels sprouts and sweet potato with 1 tablespoon olive oil and salt and pepper to taste.  Roast at 425 degrees for 30 minutes or until beginning to brown.  In a large skillet, heat the remaining 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and add garlic and kale.  Saute until wilted.  

In a large bowl, mix together the prepared quinoa, vegetables, and feta cheese.  Serve warm.  


ruthpclark said...

Crispy brussels sprouts are the way to go! Yum. This looks delicious. I might also try adding the kale raw, and just massaging it down a bit with some olive oil first!

laura b said...

Wow, that looks amazing!

Rachel said...

That's a great idea, I'll have to give it a try next time! I always forget you can do that to kale...

Rachel said...


Antoinette Musik said...

Yum, this looks absolutely delicious, I have to try this. I love that its Gluten free too!!! Thanks for giving me a great dinner idea.

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