Taste the Rainbow

Despite the graying skies and increasingly bare trees, the growing season is not over yet (thank Jeebus)!  I meandered down to my local grocer this morning without a thought in my head about what I might prepare today, and then these magical, multicolored carrots burst forth. Next thing I knew I was envisioning a gingery roasted carrot and quinoa pilaf which I would serving alongside tamari marinated and baked tofu.     

A few weeks from now, I might not be so lucky. This time of year signals a major shift in the way many of us go about planning our meals. That said, get yourself to your local grocery store or farmer’s market this weekend and get inspired by the last of the bounty of long days and less-distant sun.

Multicolored Carrots

Red Quinoa Pilaf

Red Quinoa Pilaf with Ginger, Carrot, and Cashews:

2 Tbsp. grapeseed or canola oil

1 medium bunch carrots of any color, peeled and cut into 1” chunks

1 Tbsp. butter

1 small hunk of ginger, peeled (approx. 1”)

4-5 cloves garlic

1 bunch green onions

1 1/2 C. chicken or vegetable broth

1 C. red quinoa, rinsed

1/2 C. cashews (I used dry roasted, unsalted – but use whatever you fancy)

S & P

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spread the cut carrots out onto a baking sheet and drizzle with the oil.  Sprinkle generously with salt and pepper and toss gently.  Roast for 20-25 minutes or until the carrots are just beginning to soften.  Set aside to cool slightly.

In the meantime, chop your ginger, garlic, and the bottom 2” of your green onions (the white and pale green parts only) finely, saving the tops for later.  You can chop everything into big chunks and pulse in the food processor, scraping the sides several times, if you aren’t much of a fine chopper.

In a medium pot with a tight fitting lid, melt the butter over medium heat. Add your ginger/garlic/onion mixture and saute for just about one minute, until sizzling and fragrant.

Add your quinoa and broth and increase the heat to high.  Cover and bring to a boil (this will only take a few minutes).  Reduce the heat to medium low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes, or until the quinoa grains become tender and begin to split open.*

When the quinoa and carrots are done, slice the remaining green tops of the green onion thinly. Stir in the carrots, green onions, and cashews and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.

*A note on quinoa: I have found that most packaged quinoa indicates a longer cooking time than is really necessary, so check on it a little early to be safe. If there is extra water remaining in the pan even when the quinoa is done to your liking, just remove the lid and increase the heat.  Stir regularly to allow the water to evaporate off and prevent sticking.  If using regular quinoa (pale in color), cooking time will be significantly less.

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