I believe this will be my fifth recipe involving quinoa.
So I guess it’s fair to say I’m infatuated with this “health food.”
Looking over the statistics for my site, my quinoa recipes are also some of my most popular recipes.
I’m not alone with my infatuation.
Quinoa seems to be an American obsession at the moment.
And why not? It’s as tasty and easy to make as pasta (faster than rice) and it’s really nutritious.
This particular quinoa dish definitely scores an “A” for nutrition.
It’s loaded with healthy mediterranean foods like tomatoes, artichokes, olive oil, and pine nuts.
The complete printable recipe is below, at the end of the post, but first I’ve got to share my other current infatuation: poring over my photos of the town of Banff…
…one of the most naturally dazzling places I’ve ever been.
If you ever happen to find yourself in beautiful Banff, I highly recommend taking a stroll out of the town and across the bridge (this photo was taken on the bridge)…
…and just beyond, find Cascade Gardens.
Meat-and-Potatoes-Guy and I just so happened to stumble upon this glorious little garden very late in the day.
Sometimes the best things aren’t planned.
I’m sure it’s quite busy during the summer months, but when we were there, it felt we had the place to ourselves.
Peaceful and pretty as can be, with the towering Canadian Rockies as a backdrop.
Safe to say I’m still wishing I was still on vacation.
To make the Mediterranean Quinoa, begin with these ingredients.
First, prepare the quinoa.
Boil three cups of water in a saucepan and add a bit of salt.
Add 1 1/2 cups of quinoa and reduce to a simmer.
Cook until all the water is absorbed, about 10-12 minutes.
You’ll see it’s done when the spiral-shaped germ becomes visible around each grain.
Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
Arrange some pine nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until they become light golden.
Just keep a close watch on them, they burn quickly!
Next, place some frozen chopped spinach (about half of a bag) in a heat-safe container and thaw it in the microwave.
Toss it into a fine mesh strainer that’s placed on a large bowl.
Squeeze the spinach until all the excess water is removed.
Wring it as dry as possible.
All that water at the bottom of the bowl?
That’s what you don’t want in your quinoa dish!
Next, grab some canned quartered artichoke hearts (about half of a can), toss them in a strainer, and give them a good rinse.
Canned artichokes are normally marinated in oil and vinegar, and you really want to get rid of that briny flavor by rinsing them thoroughly.
Then chop them up into bite-sized pieces.
Grab a clove of garlic, place your knife flat over it, then press down, smashing the clove and removing the skin.
Then run your knife in every direction, mincing up the garlic.
Next, heat up some heart-healthy extra virgin olive oil in a sauté pan.
Cook the garlic for just a minute or two, until it’s softened but not yet browned.
Add the chopped artichokes and thawed spinach.
Then strain some canned chopped tomatoes and add those too.
Stir and allow everything to simmer for a few minutes.
Season with salt and pepper and turn off the heat.
Then stir in the cooked quinoa and toasted pine nuts, and serve.
For dinner I serve this dish warm, as a side with grilled chicken or fish.
Or (with the quinoa and olive oil and pine nuts), it’s hearty and filling enough to have alone as a light lunch.
The recipe makes a lot (about six servings), but it holds up well as leftovers.
And with the nutritional value of this dish – - it’s loaded with filling fiber and protein and packed with Vitamins A, C, and B6, plus iron and even calcium from the spinach – - you’ll feel like you’re doing something very healthy for yourself too!
Here is the complete, printable recipe:
Prep: 15 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
- 1½ cups quinoa
- ⅓ cup pine nuts
- 8 ounces (about ½ bag) frozen chopped spinach
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 7 ounces (about ½ can) quartered artichoke hearts, drained, thoroughly rinsed, and diced
- 16-ounce container chopped tomatoes, drained
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper
- Bring three cups of water to a boil in a saucepan, and season with salt. Add the quinoa and reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook until the water is absorbed, about 10-12 minutes. The quinoa is cooked when the spiral germ becomes visible around the grains.
- Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 degrees F.
- Arrange the pine nuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5 minutes, or until they become light golden. Watch carefully, they burn quickly!
- Place the frozen spinach in a heat-safe container and microwave until thawed. Transfer thawed spinach to a fine mesh strainer. Arrange strainer over a large mixing bowl and squeeze spinach, wringing dry, until all excess water is drained from the spinach.
- Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the garlic and cook until softened, about 2 minutes. Add the spinach, artichokes, and tomatoes and simmer until heated through, about 5 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
- Turn off the heat and add and combine the cooked quinoa and toasted pine nuts. Serve.