Thursday, July 08, 2010

recipe: lemon garlic quinoa with spinach and tomatoes

A few years ago, I was at Mary T's house and we got hungry. Out of nowhere, she whipped up this amazing orzo recipe featuring lemon, garlic, spinach and tomatoes. I ate about five servings and then asked for the recipe, which got passed around our group of friends, and now this dish tends to turn up at least half our gatherings. And trust me, I'm not complaining!

The recipe I got from Mary didn't have exact measurements and I end up making it a little differently each time, but the ingredient list is always the same. Orzo, lemon, garlic, spinach, tomatoes. Except for this time. This time, I decided to try something different and substitute quinoa for the orzo. I have long sung the praises of quinoa and it was on sale at the Kroger last week, so I have lots to spare. And truthfully? I think I like this version better! It sticks to your ribs and you get all the awesome benefits of my favorite seed-masquerading-as-a-grain. Orzo or quinoa - either way, this dish is a winner!

Lemon Garlic Quinoa with Spinach and Tomaotes
inspired by Mary T.

You will need:
Juice of one lemon
2 Tbsp olive oil
3 cloves garlic, crushed
2 cups cherry tomatoes, quartered
3-4 cups fresh spinach, coarsely chopped
1 cup quinoa, dry

Prepare quinoa according to package. (I like to make mine in a rice cooker because it's super easy.) While quinoa is cooking, mix together lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a small bowl and let the flavors combine. Heat a good sized pan and add the lemon mixture to it. Cook until garlic is fragrant. Add tomatoes and cook until they begin to break down and get a little saucy. Finally, add the spinach and cook until the greens are wilted.

Take the spinach-tomato mixture and add it to the pot of quinoa. Stir until everything is incorporated. Enjoy!