Welcome to 2017! How were your holidays? Did you eat and drink way too much? Did they fly by at lightening speed? I ate way too much over the holidays myself and wow did they ever fly by! I still have lots of of leftover treats, there seems to be chocolate everywhere I look! People are even bringing their extra goodies into work so there is nowhere to hide. My meals have gone back to normal and are healthy again, I just need to ween off the holiday treats and switch to my usual fruit and veggies.
Did you make any New Year's resolutions? I know for a lot of people January 1 is a reset button and a time for goal setting. One of the most common goals out there is to eat healthier and to lose weight. If you are one of the many people who are focusing on this in 2017 than you were at the forefront of my mind when I choose this week's recipe, cheesy quinoa. This yummy side dish is a great way to bridge into super healthy meals without feeling deprived. Quinoa boasts a host of health benefits so it's a great addition to most people's diets. Adding in cheese, well that is just for deliciousness. However, if I really wanted to make a stretch I could talk about how cheese contains milk which has calcium, so it's not really all that bad!
The cheese in this recipe is Pecorino which is a salty, potent cheese that is a lot like Parmesan. A little of this goes a long way, so it's good to add favor without totally compromising your health goals. Use a micro-plane grater when preparing the cheese, this will result in a thin grate and you will add even less cheese then if you used a normal box grater. You can use Parmesan if you can't find Pecorino, it is a good substitution but tends to be a bit pricier. There are a couple of other changes that you can make here as well; if you follow a vegetarian diet then switch to veggie stock cube or vegetable stock. I have chosen to use a low sodium cube as I find normal ones to be a bit too salty for my tastes, but you could use a regular one or homemade stock if that is what you have on hand. Lastly, the basil can be changed to another herb if you prefer; tarragon or oregano would be nice choices.
1 Cup Quinoa (any color)
2 Cups Water
1 Chicken Stock Cube (Low Sodium)
0.5 Cup Grated Pecorino Cheese
1 TBSP Chopped Garlic
0.5 TSP Basil
Rinse quinoa well under running water
Add quinoa, water, garlic, basil and stock cube to a pot and bring to a boil
Cover pot leaving lid ajar and lower temperature to a low simmer for 10-12 minutes.
Quinoa is done when it is al dente, it should be neither crunchy nor mushy.
Take off heat and stir in cheese.