Hi Food Lovers,
Welcome to the new and improved Little Chef Big Appetite. After a few months of reconstruction, I am back. New site, new look, but same old freakin’ delicious grub. Don’t worry, I certainly did not stop, eating, cooking, baking, biting, or savoring — oh no. In fact, I have lots of goodies to share with you.
This post is all about cooking with color. In California, I am lucky enough to get fresh, colorful produce all year round. But growing up on the East coast, I remember loving summer evenings, strolling through the local farmer’s market with my parents. There was so much delicious fruit to sample and bring home. There was really no other season like it. Now even though that I live in Southern California where we have a farmer’s market year round, it is still one of my favorite activities. Now on Saturday mornings, I begin my weekend scouring the stands for beautiful colors and unusual vegetables I can bring home to my kitchen.
This dish is certainly not lacking in color, but what is great about it is that it is made from produce that is fresh everywhere, all the time. Most importantly, it is full of flavor due to the wonderful spice mixture it incorporates.
Now, I know quinoa is a big thing these days. Everyone seems to have a recipe for it. And I know it’s got it’s health benefits – full of fiber and protein…but I have to be honest, I still find it really bland when eaten on its own. In this dish, though, I mixed it with lemon and parsley and then served it with the spiced vegetables, so all the flavors really complement each other, and I actually enjoy eating quinoa.
This is a relatively easy side dish to pull together and it will truly please your taste buds. Oh, and did I mention that it is vegetarian and gluten-free? Make this one for company - I did and it was a hit. I served it alongside roast chicken, but I don’t see why you couldn’t serve it at your next BBQ or potluck.
Spiced Apples, Carrots and Red Onions with Lemon and Parsley Quinoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced on a bias into 1/2″ thick pieces
1 medium red apple (any kind), halved, cored, and sliced into 1″ cubes
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1.5 Tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup quinoa
zest of 1/2 lemon plus 2-3 teaspoons of lemon juice
1/2 cup finely chopped parsley
Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Cook the quinoa in water according to package directions (do not add salt if directions say to do so).
In a small bowl stir together the cardamom, coriander, black pepper and 3/4 teaspoon of the salt. In a large bowl combine the carrots, apple, red onion and olive oil. Add the spice mixture and mix well to combine. Spread the mixture on a baking sheet. Roast in the oven for 30 minutes, stirring halfway. Remove the vegetables from the oven when the carrots are tender and the onions begin to turn dark at the edges.
Transfer the quinoa to a serving dish and stir in the remaining salt, lemon zest, lemon juice and parsley. Spread the roasted vegetables on top and serve. Best if eaten same day.
*Recipe adapted from Tasting Table