Qunioa Pilaf and Pasta Salad


Here are two sides that I, as a vegetarian, prefer to boost up to center stage as they contain some protein. Quinoa in particular is a grain with a very high protein content. Every vegetable in these two recipes (except for the garlic) has been a part of our CSA this season.

Do you remember the epazote we got way back in the beginning? Well with any luck, you might have dried it like I did after having used a few fresh leaves.

Quinoa Pilaf – comes from the Food Network

Ingredients
* 1/4 cup butter
* 1 onion, finely chopped
* 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
* 3 large sprigs fresh epazote (or one teaspoon dried)
* 1 bay leaf
* 1 cup quinoa, rinsed, drained well
* 4 cups chicken stock or vegetable stock
* Chopped fresh parsley or cilantro

Directions
Melt butter in heavy large saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and saute until tender, about 10 minutes. Add garlic, epazote and bay leaf. Stir 1 minute. Add quinoa and stir just until coated. Add stock. Bring to boil. Reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is tender, about 10 minutes. Drain. Discard epazote and bay leaf.

Transfer pilaf to large bowl. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with parsley or cilantro.

I tried this recipe with both white and red quinoa and preferred the taste of the white.

Pasta Salad

Ingredients
Dried fusilli
1 green bell pepper
1 red onion
1 garlic clove
1 ear of corn
1/4 inch of chile pepper (or more to taste)
garlic powder (to taste)
coarse sea salt or kosher salt (a pinch or more to taste)
olive oil – enough to coat the mixture
parmesan cheese (to taste) or feta cheese

Directions
Boil fusilli pasta until al dente. (I used whole wheat as it has a higher protein and fiber content). Drain and return to the pot.

While the pasta is boiling, dice the onion, bell pepper, and chile pepper. Finely chop the garlic clove. Toss into the pasta. Then slice the kernels off the cob into the pasta. Toss with olive oil until coated and add a pinch of salt (or more to taste). Sprinkle garlic powder to enhance garlic flavor to taste (two raw cloves will be too much but one might not be enough to your taste. I find the dried garlic powder also sticks well to the pasta). Add the cheese last and stir until the ingredients are evenly distributed throughout the pasta.

In case you can’t tell from the picture, I used a finely grated parmesan cheese.

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