Mediterranean Quinoa

I thoroughly enjoy cutting vegetables. It is so relaxing and therapeutic to me. I have talked to so many people who say they don’t enjoy cooking because they hate the time it takes to cut up and prepare all the ingredients. If you can, get yourself a great wooden cutting board and be sure to keep your knives sharpened. Turn on some music and just enjoy the process. Take your time while cutting and preparing and think about the fact that you are preparing food that is going to nourish your body, nourish your family’s bodies and ultimately leave you all feeling better than you would have if you had pulled that highly processed meal out of the freezer and thrown it in the oven. Allow yourself to fall in love with cooking!

That being said, I hate to waste good produce because it can be expensive. I had a variety of vegetables left over from the previous two nights’ dinners so I got resourceful, sautéed the veggies, cooked a pot of quinoa and grabbed a few things out of the pantry to whip up this super easy and delicious Mediterranean dish.

Mediterranean Quinoa

Ingredients:

■ 1 cup of uncooked quinoa (I know quinoa isn’t everyone’s favorite, so substitute the quinoa with orzo if you prefer. It will be just as good.)

■ 1 cup of thinly sliced zucchini — then cut into quarters

■ 1 cup of thinly sliced yellow squash — then cut into quarters

■ ½ sliced yellow bell pepper

■ ½ sliced red bell pepper

■ ½ white onion

■ ½ red onion

■ About 3-4 thinly sliced white mushrooms

■ 1 jar of marinated artichoke hearts

■ 1 jar of marinated sun-dried tomatoes

■ 1 can of white cannelloni beans — drained (do not cook)

Mediterranean Vinaigrette

Ingredients:

■ ¼ cup olive oil

■ 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar

■ A squeeze of a lemon wedge

■ 3 cloves of finely minced garlic

■ A handful of very finely chopped parsley

■ About 8-10 basil leaves roughly chopped

■ 1 sprig of very finely chopped rosemary

■ cracked black pepper

■ 1 tsp (or more to taste) of coarse grain sea salt

Stir all the ingredients for the vinaigrette. Stir a little bit into the white beans and let it sit while you prepare the rest.

Cook your quinoa (or orzo) per the package instructions — don’t forget to add salt.

I find that quinoa tends to get mushy if you handle it too much when it’s still hot. Let it sit for about 15-20 minutes if you have the time and then fluff with a fork.

Heat a couple tablespoons of olive oil in a deep pan/pot. I use my ceramic Dutch oven. Sauté your veggies. Don’t sauté longer than 4-5 minutes so they stay crisp. Soggy vegetables are yuck!

Add the fluffed quinoa to the sautéed vegetables and add the vinaigrette (reserve just a bit to add at the end). Stir with a fork, not a spoon, because it will mush up the quinoa. Add a jar of roughly chopped sun-dried tomatoes, a jar of marinated artichoke hearts and the white cannelloni beans. Sprinkle with a bit of course sea salt and drizzle a bit of the olive oil mixture if you have any left and squeeze a little bit of lemon over the top.

Bon Appetit!

Follow Nicole on Instagram @livewell_livewhole for more food inspiration.