Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Oven-Roasted Quinoa with Spiced Apples, Carrots and Red Onions

Although I eat them all-year long, apples still seem really harvest-y to me. This summer's drought has really taken a toll on the Wisconsin apple crop, particularly here in Southern Wisconsin, so I'm really treasuring each one I get my hands on this year. I recently added Tasting Table to my food-related newsletters, and although they provide me with many opportunities for culinary creativity and inspiration each day, this one was simple and special enough for me to bookmark it and make it in short order. In my experience, roasting makes so many things better, from fruits and vegetables to grains and spices, all of which get that treatment in this recipe. Red onion, although mellowed and sweetened by the roasting process, retains enough of its sharpness to provide a nice contrast to the caramelized carrots and apples, with lemon and parsley adding acidity and freshness. Cardamom and coriander provide a nice balance of sweet and savory spices that become intensely aromatic during their time in the oven. This is the perfect dish to bring to any fall gathering, satisfying nearly any dietary restriction, be it gluten-free, lactose-intolerant, vegetarian, or vegan, without sacrificing anything in terms of flavor. Treat those apples right and give this recipe a try! With mere minutes of effort you'll have a beautiful fall dish everyone can enjoy.

Oven-Roasted Quinoa with Spiced Apples, Carrots and Red Onions
Recipe from the Tasting Table Test Kitchen
serves 4

½ teaspoon ground cardamom
½ teaspoon ground coriander
½ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon kosher salt
3 medium carrots--peeled, halved lengthwise and sliced on a bias into 1-inch pieces
1 medium apple--halved, cored and sliced into 1-inch cubes
1 medium red onion, halved and thinly sliced
1½ tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
Zest of ½ lemon plus 2 teaspoons lemon juice
¼ cup finely chopped flat-leaf parsley

1. Preheat the oven to 425°. In a small bowl, stir together cardamom, coriander, pepper and ¾ teaspoon salt. In a 9-by-13-inch baking dish, add the carrots, apple, red onion and olive oil. Add the spice mixture and stir to combine.

2. In an 8- or 9-inch baking dish, add the rinsed quinoa and spread into an even layer. Place the quinoa and vegetables in the oven. Toast the quinoa until fragrant and golden, about 8 minutes, then pour 2 cups water over the quinoa and loosely cover the pan with a sheet of aluminum foil. Cook the quinoa until it uncoils and looks fluffy, 15 to 20 minutes. Remove the quinoa from the oven, fluff with a fork, re-cover with foil and set aside.

3. Meanwhile, continue to roast the vegetables, stirring occasionally, until the onions start to blacken around the edges and the carrots are tender, about 30 minutes total.

4. Transfer the quinoa to a serving dish. Stir in the remaining ¼ teaspoon salt, the lemon zest and lemon juice, then the parsley. Serve alongside the roasted vegetables.

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