When I was in grad school, I studied the principles of the ideal self. Essentially, each person has both his actual self – the person he is – and his ideal self – the person he would be in a perfect world. In psychology and communication, this can have all sorts of implications, but for now let’s just focus on the concept. For example, my ideal self would find nothing more relaxing than curling up with a good book and a cup of hot tea. My actual self prefers Netflix and red wine. Similarly, my ideal self would get up early in the morning and go for runs. My actual self schedules my trips to the gym around Gilmore Girls reruns. As you can see, there are some discrepancies there. One place where my ideal self and actual self line up, though, is quinoa.
Nutrition experts extoll the virtues of quinoa; it’s a super food and it’s a complete protein. My ideal self loves it for its nutritional benefits and my actual self loves it because it’s tasty. Sure, my husband still asks “what’s a quinn-oh?” every time I mention it (yes, he thinks he’s funny), but that’s okay. It’s a simple grain to make and it has endless possibilities.
This particular dish is especially easy. You simply toss the veggies in some balsamic vinegar and oil and roast it. While that’s in the oven, you cook the quinoa. Then you mix it all together. It doesn’t get much easier than that. And since the quinoa is a protein on its own you don’t need anything to go with it! The balsamic vinegar gives the final dish a subtle yet rich flavor, and the vegetables maintain their individual flavors. And, any leftovers reheat beautifully for lunches later in the week. Quick, easy, healthy, and tasty? Trust me when I say your actual self is going to thank me for this recipe!
Balsamic Roasted Vegetable Quinoa
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed*
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- ½ tsp salt
- 2 medium sweet potatoes, chunked
- 3 large carrots, chunked
- 1 large bell pepper, chunked
- 1 large onion, chunked
- 2 large tomatoes, chunked
- 1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- Salt and Pepper, to taste
- Preheat oven to 400.
- Toss sweet potatoes, carrots, pepper, and onion with balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Transfer into a roasting pan, and roast for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, add the tomatoes, toss the mixture, and continue roasting for 10 minutes or until the vegetables are soft.
- Meanwhile, sauté the garlic in a bit of olive oil over medium heat for about thirty seconds. Add the quinoa and sauté for another minute. Stir in the stock and salt (if using unsalted stock), and bring mixture to a boil. Once it is boiling, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. Fluff the quinoa with a fork.
- In a large heatproof bowl, combine vegetables with any liquid remaining in the pan and the quinoa. Serve hot.
*Note: Make sure you rinse the quinoa, even if it says “pre-rinsed.” You want to dissolve any of the bitter casing that may remain.