this is the quinoa recipe that will make any quinoa cinic or quinoa virgin a serious quinoa lover! (shhh! the secret is crisping it!)
this dish is not only an ideal main or side, it makes an excellent non-boring lunchbox item served cold or room temp.
there's a few extra steps when crunchifying it, but they are totally worth it in the long run.
6 as a side
cooked quinoa (leftover is ideal)
red onion, diced
red pepper, diced
cherry tomatoes, halves
kalamata olives, quartered
fresh parsley, rough chopped
crumbled goat or feta cheese (optional if you want it vegan)
salt and pepper
olive oil sprayer, or 1-2 additional tablespoons olive oil if you don't have a sprayer
place large (full) sheet pan in oven (if you don't have a large/full then you might be best to use two regular sized sheets) and preheat oven to 415 degrees Fahrenheit. allow baking sheet to heat up while you prep all other ingredients.
in a small bowl, mix together olive oil, lemon juice, oregano, basil, fennel and garlic. pour over quinoa and stir to incorporate very well. set aside.
bring hot baking sheet out of oven and spray with olive oil spray (if you don't have olive oil spray, just pour a little glug on the sheet pan and spread around using a pastry brush, or paper towel if you're absolutely in a bind). pour quinoa onto oiled sheet pan, and spread evenly over entire pan. the thinner the layer of quinoa, the faster it will crunch up. place in oven for about 10 minutes.
while the quinoa is taking it's first go in the oven, on another sheet pan, add mushrooms, red onion, bell pepper, and cherry tomatoes, and drizzle with about 1 tablesoon olive oil. toss to coat all vegetables very well.
bring quinoa out of the oven and turn it very well using a spatula. return to oven on the bottom rack, and place the sheet pan of vegetables on the top rack. allow both to roast for another 15 minutes. make sure to keep an eye on your quinoa through the oven window to ensure that the quinoa around the edges doesn't burn (if it is starting to brown too much, you will just need to toss the quinoa more often)
once the 15 minutes is up, turn the quinoa and the vegetables again, and season both with salt and pepper to taste (i use about 1 teaspoon of each) if the quinoa is still more moist than crunchy, it needs another go around in the oven. ultimately, you want about 70% crunchy quinoas and 30% moist quinoas. in my opinion, the more you roast the vegetables, the sweeter and better they will be. there is no right or wrong "doneness" for roasted veg.
once quinoa and veg have reached your desired roastedness (i make up words apparently), pour both into a large bowl and toss to incorporate. season again with salt and pepper if required.
add pomegranate seeds, parley and olives and any additional optional toppings and serve immediately. note: if you are using the cheese, i don't add it until the quinoa is served up on plates or in bowls as i prefer it as a garnish. if you add it into the bowl, it will inevitably melt and disappear. which isn't necessarily a bad thing!
1. if you prefer, you can grill the veggies as it adds nice smokiness, however since the oven is on already, and if you're sorta lazy like me....nuff said.
2. as the quinoa is a good protein, this can be a main dish for 3-4 people
3. this dish is excellent served cold the next day. an excellent lunchbox item!