(I'm no longer posting on this blog - enjoy the recipe but if you want to see what I'm up to, visit me here.)
Finally have HOT weather here in NH, with minimal rain! Which means I like to make a big batch of something one day of the week and eat on it for several days so I don't have to heat the kitchen up too much. This was relatively quick to make and healthy. As a bonus, the feta and olives gave it a nice kick so it tasted more indulgent than it is.
I've said it before, but I'll say it again: If you are still a quinoa virgin go out and get yourself some already! It's one of the most versatile and quick cooking grains out there and it has an an awesome nutty flavor that is delicious all on it's own. One of the coolest things quinoa is that it's one of a very small group of foods that are considered a complete protein (have all 9 essential amino acids and in the right proportion). In the non-animal food source world this is a very rare thing. Most of the time you need to combine two or more sources to get a complete protein (like rice and beans, yogurt & almonds etc) but quinoa can stand all on it's own. It's a super food!
1 cup quinoa
3 red bell peppers, cut in half, seeded and roasted
1 can artichoke hearts, cut in pieces
1/2 red onion, diced
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 chicken breasts, cooked, diced
2 oz feta, crumbled
a handful of parsley
1 can sliced black olives (small can)
1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice
kosher salt and black pepper
Put the quinoa and 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Cover and turn the heat down to a simmer. Let the quinoa cook for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the grains are soft and fluffy.
While your quinoa is cooking, pre-heat the broiler to 500 degrees (if you are roasting your own peppers) and cut the peppers into two equal halves. Place each half cut-side down on a cookie sheet and place in the oven on the middle rack. Leave peppers in the oven until the skins are mostly charred. This will take about 15 minutes. (If you'd rather use jarred peppers, feel free to. Just drain well and pat dry.) Take the peppers out of the oven and let cool. When they're cool enough to handle, peel off the blackened skin (which should come off easily) and chop the peppers roughly.
While your peppers are roasting, heat small pan to a medium-low heat. Pour in the 3 tablespoons of olive oil and toss in the sliced garlic. Let the garlic cook in the warm oil for just a minute or until the pan gives off a strong smell of garlic. Separate the oil and the garlic pieces with a strainer and throw out the cooked garlic. Set the oil aside.
Put the artichoke pieces and chopped red peppers in a bowl and pour in the garlic oil. Stir to combine. In a separate large bowl, combine the quinoa, the cooked chicken pieces, red onion, feta, parsley and olives (I used canned ones because I was out of kalamata but again, use what you have on hand or like!). Add the artichoke, oil and pepper mixture and 1-2 tablespoons of lemon juice. Season with salt and pepper. Stir until all ingredients are combined. Serve right away warm, or chill for a few hours and serve as a cold salad.
All text and photographs (except where noted otherwise) © 2008, 2009 Food is to love / Andrea Quigley