Quinoa! Pronounced (KEEN-wah). Scary word for those of you who have never heard of it. An even scarier word if you’ve tried cooking it and said, “bleh!”. I’ll admit, I wasn’t a huge fan of the taste when I first tried it. Cooked straight up, it tasted a lot like dirt. Encouraging intro, no? Anyway, my initial experience didn’t deter me from trying it again. Even though I wasn’t a fan of the taste in it’s natural state, I was a HUGE fan of its nutritional value. Without going too far into specifics, (after all I am no Nutritional Anthropologist-lol), simply put, Quinoa is often considered a grain, but its actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It’s high in protein which makes it an excellent choice for vegans, vegetarians and mamas like me who don’t eat much meat and can’t get their babies to eat a lot of meat either.
I make this dish on a Sunday night and store it in the fridge. It’s ready and waiting for me as a quick lunch for the family or as a yummy side dish for dinner. The veggies in this are colorful (like confetti) and chopped small, making it a great dish for your little ones. My son has been eating this dish since he was 9 months old. He LOVES the taste and I feel good feeding it to him, knowing he’s getting veggies and protein in one quick and easy meal! Hurrah!
Quinoa and Lentil Confetti
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 large carrot, finely chopped
1 zucchini, finely chopped
1 small onion, finely diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 cup red lentils (or any quick cooking lentils you have on-hand)
1 cup quinoa (i prefer the red variety but used the white variety in this recipe)
3 cups water (or low sodium chicken stock)
2 teaspoons salt (may need more, as mine took quite a bit of salt. taste it first!)
pepper, to taste
1/2 cup frozen peas
1. Heat olive oil in a large stock pot or deep skillet over medium heat.
2. Add in chopped carrot, zucchini, onion and garlic. Cook until slightly soft, about 6 minutes.
3. Stir in lentils and Quinoa. Pour in water and season with salt and pepper. Cook over medium heat. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes). Fluff with a fork.
4. Stir in peas at the last minute and serve.
** Will keep in the fridge for up to 5 days.