When I first ate quinoa, I didn’t like it. I thought it had a bland earthy taste and odd texture that I wasn’t sure what to do with. However, since going gluten-free I revisited cooking with quinoa to provide more variety in dishes for my family and because it is so nutritious. I quickly realized that the trick to quinoa is adding flavor. Like rice, it will absorb the flavors of the ingredients you add. Unlike rice, I don’t like it served plain with meat or veggies on top. Quinoa is much more fun and flavorful if you mix it together with your ingredient combination of choice.
Quick note: when I make quinoa I always make more than I need. Cooked quinoa keeps great in the fridge for 1 week. I use it later to make other side dishes or whip it into a breakfast cereal with almond milk, nuts and fruit, with honey for sweetness.
I first started making this recipe in the summer because I was overloaded with zucchinis from our farm share. However, it has become a year round staple. Zucchinis and Portobello mushrooms are easy to find throughout the year at your neighborhood grocery store. It is one of those recipes that I have to stop myself from eating straight out of the pan.
For this recipe, I use coconut oil to cook the vegetables. Recently I have become much more aware of the oils I use to cook with. I used to be the queen of olive oil, but I have become more educated about what happens to olive oil at high temperatures. Olive oil will breakdown at high temperatures, losing its nutritional value and creating chemicals that are not good for our bodies. Coconut oil is fantastic. It is a very stable and nutritious oil and will not degrade over high heat. However, I am not a big fan of the coconut taste in savory foods. For this particular recipe I make an exception. I think it compliments the dish well and the coconut taste is subtle to unnoticeable.
I think this recipe provides an easy starting point if you are new to cooking quinoa. You can easily try any veggie combination you like or add chicken, shrimp, beans or tofu to make it a complete meal.
I hope you enjoy it!
- ½ cup dry quinoa
- 1 tbsp coconut oil
- 1 shallot minced
- 1 ½ - 2 cups chopped zucchini (~2 small or 1 large) into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 ½ - 2 cups chopped Portobello mushrooms (~6 baby or 3 regular size) into ¼ inch pieces
- 1 tbsp minced fresh parsley
- 1 tbsp fresh lemon juice (optional)
- Salt to taste (sea salt or pink Himalayan is best)
- Cook the quinoa per package directions. I get the quinoa going first so it will be done approximately when I am done cooking the veggies.
- Melt the coconut oil on a non-stick frying pan over medium heat.
- Add the shallot and cook until it gets soft and begins to look translucent.
- Add the zucchini and cook until it just begins to soften, about 2 minutes.
- Add the mushrooms and cook until both the zucchini and the mushrooms are done.
- Add salt to taste.
- Mix in parsley and lemon if desired (I flip-flop on the lemon. If I think it will go well with whatever else I am serving, then I will add it).
- Finally mix in the cooked quinoa and enjoy.