My version of healthy eating is a bit twisted. Moderation and I are not the best of friends. So, when I need a spell of healthy eating, there have to be a few treasures in the mix, like goat cheese and dried cherries. They make almost anything tasty. These roasted vegetables do not really need to be gilded in that fashion, but it is always a nice little contrast addition…cold and creamy meet warm vegetables. I have been in healthy mode for the most part this month, with the notable exception of my time in South Carolina. I’m staying away from my beloved bread for a bit. I’m drinking giant green smoothies. No desserts for a while. Thanks heavens the kids’ birthdays are coming up so I will “have to” make a cake. I do so love my sugar and white flour. But, let’s just say I’m benefiting from a spell of greens and beans.
I never get tired of roasted vegetables, though. Here, I have taken roasted vegetables and tossed them with a lightly sweetened vinaigrette. Then I make it a meal by serving it on top of a mound of quinoa. Actually, the dish shown above is a mix I found of quinoa, buckwheat and millet. There are some wonderful quinoa pilaf recipes out there which have additions like mint and nuts, but I’ve kept this simple because it is essentially a quick little meal. Brown rice or any other grain would work fine, too. The final joyful turn is throwing a little handful of goat cheese and dried cherries on top.
I think you could easily switch out the vegetables to suit your tastes. The dressing is a very light touch and simply adds a little zing and a little sweetness. Needless to say, this would be sensational with a bit of crumbled bacon on top, and I think chopped toasted pecans would be wonderful, too.
2 cups cubed butternut squash
1½ cups small cauliflower florets
1½ cups quartered Brussels sprouts
1½ cups sliced carrots
1 cup asparagus, cut in 1 inch pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
Vinaigrette & Toppings:
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1 teaspoon whole grain mustard
½ cup goat cheese, crumbled
¾ cup dried cherries
1. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Prepare the vegetables and toss them with the olive oil. Place them on a rimmed baking sheet large enough to accommodate the vegetables in a single layer. Sprinkle the vegetables with the kosher salt. Roast the vegetables for 25 minutes, stirring them half way through the cooking time. When finished, they will be nicely browned in spots and just tender.
2. Rinse 1 cup of quinoa in a sieve under running water for 2 minutes. Place the quinoa in a medium saucepan with 2 cups of water and bring to a simmer. Cook until the water is all absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 16 to 20 minutes. Remove the quinoa from the heat, fluff it with a fork, and let it sit, covered, for 5 minutes.
3. In a small bowl, make the dressing by whisking together the oil, lemon juice, honey, parsley and mustard. To serve, place a mound of quinoa on each of four plates. Toss the warm vegetables with the dressing and divide the vegetables between the plates. Top each with crumbled goat cheese and dried cherries. Serve immediately.
For one of my other favorite quinoa recipes, see this post for Quinoa and Black Bean Salad with Jicama Salsa.
And, if you buy pre-rinsed quinoa, you can simply proceed with the recipe. If the quinoa is not pre-rinsed, you will need to put it in a strainer and rinse it with water to remove compounds called saponins, which can make cooked quinoa taste bitter.