Because I’m a food blogger, it’s pertinent that I bring the occasional quinoa dish to your attention. After all, who would take me seriously without some posts about this popular supergrain (that’s not actually a grain)?
But, really, we have been fans of quinoa for a while now and even though it’s not necessarily the first “grain” we run to when it’s time to meal plan, we do keep it in the repertoire. We’ve had this dish a couple of times, and it’s definitely one of my new favorite ways to eat quinoa. It makes for a great weeknight meal and it’s healthy and filling, but creamy enough that it feels a bit more indulgent.
This recipe is highly adaptable and you can use whichever vegetables are your favorite, or anything in season. In the winter, I always seem to have extra carrots and celery from all the soups and stews I make, so I threw a couple of those in there along with a red bell pepper, mushrooms, and some peas (frozen peas make it into a LOT of our meals during the last 30 seconds – they’re just so easy). This would be great in the summer with zucchini and summer squash, too. The cream cheese makes feel a bit more decadent than…well, than like you’re just eating a bowl of quinoa and vegetables. I won’t go so far as to say it’s like risotto, but it definitely has a similar vibe. Plus, using a lowfat cream cheese still keeps this a nice and healthy option. The quinoa is packed with protein and the vegetables are full of nutrients; it will keep you full for a while despite not having any meat.
Creamy Quinoa Primavera
Adapted from Betty Crocker
1.5 cups uncooked quinoa
1 Tbsp. butter
1 medium carrot, peeled and diced
1 celery rib, diced
1 small red bell pepper, diced
2 cups mushrooms, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
3 cups chicken broth
1/2 cup frozen peas
3-4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 Tbsp. chopped fresh basil
2 Tbsp. grated Romano cheese
Place quinoa in mesh strainer and rinse for about 2 minutes. Set aside.
In a medium skillet or large saucepan, melt the butter. Add the mushrooms and cook until juices have been released. Stir in the carrots, celery, and bell pepper and cook for just 1-2 minutes minutes; vegetables will still be crisp. Add the garlic and quinoa, stirring for about one minute before adding the broth. Bring the broth to a boil; cover with a lid and then reduce to a simmer. Simmer until quinoa is cooked and broth is almost entirely absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Add the peas, stirring to warm through. Remove from the heat and stir in the cream cheese, until mixed throughout. Add the basil and Romano, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Top with additional Romano, if desired.