Happy Inauguration day! I hope you all had a restful long weekend. I came home to Phoenix to see my parents and catch up with a few friends. Being so close to home and seeing my family so often is something I will surely miss when (/if?) I leave Arizona after I graduate… sniffle…
So anyway… this whole food blogging thing? Harder than I thought. What’s the hardest part, you may ask? It’s not making time to eat, write about it, or photograph it. It’s the part where you have to like…cook something that actually tastes good.
After spending the better half of yesterday working on a fancy stuffed mushroom recipe that turned out bland and just way too… mushroomy (think: smelly, slimy and jiggly), I decided to go back to the basics. This recipe comes together really quickly, and calls for ingredients you probably already have on hand. I used tricolor quinoa, but you could use regular quinoa as well.
I think it makes for a great side dish—I like to eat it with a bowl of vegetarian chili, or alongside a big salad. The tomato flavor cuts out the natural bitterness that quinoa has, and the celery and walnuts give it a nice crunch.
Walnut Quinoa Pilaf
1.5 cups uncooked quinoa
1 red bell pepper, chopped
¼ white onion, diced
2 ribs of celery, diced
1/3 cup walnuts, crushed
About ¾ cup marinara sauce
3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
2 tablespoons of olive oil
Salt, garlic powder
Rinse quinoa and bring to a boil with 3 cups of water. Once boiling, turn to low and cover until water absorbs and the quinoa sprouts. This should take about 30 minutes.
While quinoa is cooking, chop the onions, garlic, celery, and bell pepper.
In a deep pot, sauté onions over olive oil until onions soften and brown. Add garlic and sauté for an additional few minutes. Add bell pepper and continue to sauté. Finally, add the celery and let cook just for a minute or two so the celery stays crisp. At this point, add salt and garlic to taste.
Add tomato sauce and let simmer. Taste mixture and add additional salt/garlic powder as needed.
Add walnuts and cooked quinoa and stir to combine.