Like football has anything to do with quinoa. Shouldn’t I be talking about the best wings? Humor me for a second. Yesterday was the big UT vs Florida game. It’s like the biggest rivalry in the SEC division. Did I just use the word “like”? Oh wait. Twice. I think I did.
There isn’t much college football happening here in the northeast, but what’s really crazy though, is there are bars here in Manhattan that are dedicated to specific college footballs teams. No lie. There’s this one bar called Traffic over in midtown for Tennessee Vols fans. It’s all decked out in orange and white. You can go there on game day, kick back, have some wings and a beer, and watch the game. Oh, then there’s my favorite sports bar call Gin Mill in my neck of the woods which is..you guessed it!..for Gators fans! Ok. It’s kind of hard picking sides since I grew up in Tennessee as a Vols fan, then living in Florida as a Gators fan. So who won? Gators beat the Vols 37-20.
Enough football talk. Let’s talk about how quinoa is my new favorite food. I love experimenting with different grains. Especially one that has so many health benefits like quinoa. It’s high in protein, fiber, calcium, magnesium, and iron. It’s also very easy to cook. Especially this dish.
The kale is actually cooked in the same pot with the quinoa. I used organic green kale. You guessed it. It was on sale for $1.99 a bunch. There are many different varieties of kale out there. Choose your favorite.
The kale is steamed in the same pot as the quinoa. Easy as that.
Then the kale and quinoa is tossed in a lemony vinaigrette. The leek really does add a depth of flavor.
Remove the lid and voilà! The kale is wilted and the quinoa is cooked. You may have a little bit of water left at the bottom of the pot from cooking the quinoa. Turn on the heat to medium-high to absorb the remaining water. Just stir until the water is all gone. No need to drain.
The pine nuts add a crunch and nutty flavor. Kale + Quinoa = Superfood!
Lemony Quinoa and Kale with Pine Nuts
adapted from Food 52
This salad is full of lemon flavor. It’s a perfect side dish with fish or any seafood. If you want to cut back on the lemon flavor, use only the juice from half a lemon. Also the quinoa is delicious even without the goat cheese.
1 cup quinoa
1 bunch kale, stems removed and chopped into 1-inch thick ribbons
zest and juice of 1 lemon
1 small leek, white and light green partly only, finely chopped
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese (optional)
In a large sauce pan, bring 2 cups of water to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa, give it a quick stir, and cover with a tight fitted lid. Simmer for 10 minutes over low heat. Add the kale, cover, and simmer for 5 more minutes. Turn off the heat and allow the kale and quinoa to steam covered for 5 minutes. All of the water should have absorbed. If not, remove the lid and turn on the heat to medium-high, stirring frequently until all water has evaporated.
In a large serving bowl, add the lemon zest, lemon juice, leek, olive oil, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine. Set aside.
Using a fork, fluff the quinoa. Transfer the kale and quinoa mixture to the serving bowl and toss with the dressing to coat. Add the toasted pine nuts and toss to combine. Sprinkle the crumbled goat cheese on top. Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.