Happy (almost) Friday everyone!
We’re just breaking into January and the New Year is all about discovering a new and fabulous you!
Unfortunately, I just discovered….
that I am a big baby. A crabby, whining, rub my tummy kind of 6 month year old.
I woke up New Years Day (go figure) with the flu and it absolutely kicked me to the curb. I’ve been living in mountain of dirty tissues, half drunk mugs of tea, and trashy gossip mags. But lucky for everyone around me (sorry!) I’m back on my feet and feeling sooo much better! I swear there will be far less complaining and a lot more cooking!
So to get back in the kitchen, I decided I wanted to come up with an easy and healthy dish that I can roll over into 2 meals. Because as flu season sets in we need to feed our bodies with plenty of vitamin packed fresh fruits and vegetables, and do it in a way that’s easy enough to motivate us to actually do it. Takeout is definitely tempting when you’re tired and sick…but planning ahead is just as simple as dialing the numbers on your cell (well almost.. ).
So lets get down to business!
Today’s recipe is a Quinoa Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Balsamic Vinaigrette. This little beauty is packed with nutrient dense tomatoes, spinach, beans, quinoa, and basil. If you’re unfamiliar with quinoa – you are going to love it! Its technically a seed but its delicious treated as a grain. Its the only grain (ish) to be a complete protein, so its a great choice for vegetarians and vegans – and great for those of us looking to make a great filling vegetarian dinner!
But the secret ingredient to this salad is the slow roasted tomatoes. These are what we are going to roll over to the next day to make a fabulous chicken sandwich. I’ll be posting the recipe on Sunday! Slow roasting the tomatoes intensifies their flavor and caramelizes them into these delicious shrunken versions of themselves. The recipe I have below for them can be used in a hundred different ways – add them to pastas, sandwiches, salads, use their oil to make dressings, or eat them on crostini.
Here’s to a germ free flu season!
Quinoa Salad with Roasted Tomatoes, Basil, and Balsamic Vinaigrette
Yields 5 servings
For the Roasted Tomatoes
- 3 lbs tomatoes
- 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 1/2 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
- 3/4 teaspoon salt
- 3 garlic cloves, very thinly sliced
For the Quinoa Salad
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 (15 oz) can white beans, rinsed and drained
- 2 1/2 cups fresh spinach
- 1/4 cup chopped fresh basil
- 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
For the Balsamic Vinaigrette
- 1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
- 1 garlic clove, finely minced
- 1/8 teaspoon salt
- 1/8 teaspoon pepper
- 3 tablespoons olive oil
To Roast the Tomatoes
- Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with a layer of tin foil and a second layer of parchment paper.
- Slice the tomatoes in half through their equator (not through the stem). Place each half on the prepared baking sheet.
- Drizzle the halves with the olive oil and balsamic vinegar. Sprinkle with sugar, thyme, and salt. Gently toss the tomatoes in the mixture, finishing with the halves facing cut side up. Sprinkle garlic clove slices evenly over the top.
- Bake for 3 hours or until deep reddish brown and they have collapsed to about half their size. Let cool 15 minutes.
To Make the Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Combine balsamic vinegar, garlic, salt and pepper in a small bowl. Whisk until the salt is dissolved. Slowly pour in the olive oil, whisking constantly. Set aside.
To Make the Quinoa Salad
- Bring 2 cups of water to boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa, cover, and lower heat to medium. Cook 12 minutes or until all of the water has evaporated. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and return cover. Let sit for 15 minutes.
- Place about half of the roasted tomatoes on a cutting board and return the remaining to an airtight container and refrigerate for later use (like my Chicken Sandwich that will be posted on Sunday!). Coarsely chop the tomatoes on the cutting board.
- Add cooked quinoa, chopped tomatoes, beans, red onion, and basil in a large bowl. Drizzle over dressing and carefully stir to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.
Nutrition Information (per serving, about 1 cup); Calories: 327, Fat: 12 grams