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Posts Tagged ‘balsamic vinegar’

My husband is frequently amused by the different pizza combinations I come up with, which are often inspired by other bloggers. Last weekend I finally got around to making Maria’s Sweet Potato Kale Pizza with Rosemary and Red Onion, and it was so full of gorgeous, seasonal flavors. The same evening, my husband made his standard (gluten-full) cheese pizza but he was intrigued by the kale on my pizza and so added some to his own. Maybe there is a possibility of his pizza tastes becoming more sophisticated? (Yeah, right.)

And so, that pizza sent my mind wandering around, thinking of the other possibilities for the flavors I had just enjoyed together. Somehow my mind landed on quinoa. And so did Maria. I laughed when I saw her Quinoa Salad with Sweet Potatoes and Kale pop up one morning last week. I was like, dang, she beat me to it! But at the same time, it wasn’t quite what I had running through my mind. And so, I introduce you to…

Quinoa with Balsamic Butternut and Kale Saute

An original by Renee, inspired by those listed above

1 butternut squash (2-3#), seeded, peeled and chopped into bite-sized pieces

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 large onion, chopped

1 Tbsp oil

3 cups kale, de-ribbed, torn into small pieces

1/2 tsp salt

Vinaigrette:

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar

2 tsp sugar

1 tsp dried rosemary leaves, crushed (or sage)

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 tsp pepper

1/2 tsp minced garlic

1/4 cup olive oil

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Line baking sheet(s) with foil.  Toss chopped squash in olive oil to lightly coat. Roast squash until tender, 30 minutes or so, depending on the sizes of squash pieces. Be sure to stir the squash at least once, halfway through. And give the squash plenty of room to “breathe” on the roasting pan so that they are crisp rather than soggy.

Cook quinoa in water according to your favored method (I prefer to use my rice cooker these days).

Whisk together vinaigrette ingredients and set aside.

Once the quinoa is cooked, in a large skillet, saute the onion in the olive oil until it begins to soften. Stir in the kale and allow to soften slightly. Next, stir in the roasted squash and allow to heat through slightly, especially if it had cooled down significantly (I had roasted mine the day before). Pour in half of the vinaigrette and stir to coat the vegetables. Allow to cook for 1-2 minutes, then stir in the cooked quinoa and salt. Heat through if quinoa had cooled down significantly. Taste. Add more vinaigrette or salt as desired. Serve warm.

Additions:

We had some goat cheese that needed to be eaten, so I crumbled some up and sprinkled on top as well, after the photo – a very nice addition.

I also thought that adding a can of drained and rinsed white beans might be nice and add a big protein boost (although quinoa is already high in protein).

I saved the extra vinaigrette in a small glass jar to pour over the leftovers. Quinoa has a tendency to suck up some of the flavor and make it disappear after some time in the frig.

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Over the past month, I’ve been making a lot of dishes using the produce coming out of our garden and what I’ve found at the farmer’s markets. One of my favorite summer meals is pasta with a bunch of fresh vegetables. Below I present you with two variations on a theme, both of which are deliciously simple.

I intended on getting this post up for Go Ahead Honey, It’s Gluten Free since the theme was “Dishes so Simple, No Recipe Required” but alas, I procrastinated and didn’t get it up. Regardless, go over to GF Easily and check out the other un-recipes.

Balsamic Vegetable Pasta

Quick Summer Pasta

Original by Renee

No measurements here, just go with what feels and tastes(!) right.

Gluten Free Pasta, my favorite brand is Tinkyada (which is also sold cheaper as Trader Joe’s house brand of brown rice pasta).

Chopped heirloom tomatoes (Yay for Green Zebras – the birds don’t try to eat them since they’re green, and leave half-eaten, beautiful red toms hanging on the vine)

Chickpeas, cooked/canned, drained and rinsed

Feta cheese, crumbled – I had picked up some lovely marinated goat feta from Sweetwoods Dairy at the farmer’s market

A drizzle of olive oil

Fresh basil – lots of it!

Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

Cook pasta and drain. Toss with remaining ingredients.

Balsamic Vegetable Pasta

Original by Renee

Again, no measurements but I wanted more vegetables than pasta in this one.

Gluten Free Pasta – see above

Onion, halved and thinly sliced, either red or white will work

Balsamic vinegar

Chickpeas, canned/cooked, rinsed and drained

Heirloom tomatoes, chopped – lots of them!

Feta or goat cheese, crumbled

Olive oil

Basil – lots of it!

Sea Salt and Fresh Pepper

Cook pasta (gluten free pasta needs a lot of water to move around in!). Drain and rinse.

In a large skillet, heat a bit of olive oil. Add in the sliced onion and cook over medium heat. Turn down and let the onions start to carmelize a bit and then drizzle some balsamic vinegar over them. Add in the chickpeas and let them heat through, stirring occasionally, and adding a bit more balsamic if you want.

Toss onions and chickpeas into a  large bowl. Add in the tomatoes, basil and feta, toss gently. Add in pasta (I wanted more veggies, less pasta in this version). Drizzle with a bit of olive oil and add salt and pepper (and/or more vinegar) to taste.

Notes:

* Sometimes I also saute a red sweet bell pepper with the onions.

* Kalamata olives and/or toasted pine nuts are a nice addition.

* Parmesan cheese instead of feta or goat cheese works too. So many variations!

* Mix it up to fit your taste buds!

What’s your favorite quick summer pasta combination?

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