Quinoa + Chimichurri = LOVE

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Chimichurri, a traditional Argentinian condiment, is one of my obsessions.

When I make it I love how the fragrance fills up my kitchen, coats my skin, and gets my mouth-watering.

If you google how it’s used, you’ll find that it’s traditionally used for meat. But, hey: buck tradition and don’t stop there! I marinate halibut in it… I use it for dipping potatoes in… it’s amazing slathered on eggs in the morning… and, you guessed it: is it pure heaven when added to a bowl of warm quinoa.

Basically, chimichurri is this: herbs, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and some heat (like red pepper flakes or a bit of fresh jalapeno) all mashed up together into a thick paste of sorts. (Traditional recipes also use a little vinegar, but I’ve never added it to mine.) I never measure – but here’s the general proportions I use when making  a batch:

  • 1 handful of cilantro
  • 1 handful of basil leaves
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • about 1/4 cup of olive oil (and add more if necessary to get desired creaminess)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • red pepper flakes to taste

NOTE: You can also use basil + parsley, or basil + oregano, or cilantro + parsley… or you can just do a single herb. The possibilities are unlimited!

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When using chimichurri with quinoa, you’re really ‘dressing’ the salad – so you don’t want to go overboard. My ratio is typically about 2 TBPS (to start) of chimichurri to 1 cup of quinoa. (If your quinoa is pre-cooked (good girl!), warm it just a bit before mixing; warm quinoa helps get the chimichurri to evenly coat the whole bowl.)

Use the quinoa + chimichurri as a simple salad – or make it the base for a more hearty salad! For example, the other day we grilled burgers – and, you know me: I’m not a bun or bread girl. So, in place of my bun, I used my quinoa + chimichurri salad, I added some warm peas and corn, and voilà: check out my ‘rebel burger’:

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Quinoa + Chimichurri Salad with Peas and Corn, Topped with a Hamburger Patty, Goat Cheese, and Arugula

 

I hope my plate of yumminess makes you think outside the box for how you can use your quinoa + chimichurri. And, I hope your big takeaway from today is this: make chimichurri. Your quinoa will love it… and so will you.

Happy Tuesday, everyone!

An Herbed Quinoa Fennel Grapefruit Salad to Brighten Your Day

The house is quiet.

Kids are at school learning (thank God!), laundry is turning in the dryer, I hear the hum of a lawnmower out my window, and… I am breathing for the first time in days.

Breathing.

Thinking.

Processing.

Camping on this sweet verse from Isaiah 63:9: In all their distress He too was distressed, and the angel of His presence saved them. In His love and mercy He redeemed them; He lifted them up and carried them all the days of old.

Isn’t that beautiful?

It reminds today I’m not alone in my distress… this natural distress of discomfort I’m feeling as we slowly move into this new land with kids in new schools, new friends, a new home (soon), and new ways of doing things. (Oh, and the distress of thinking “how in the heck am I going to pack up this house?? Agh!)

But truthfully, I am so, so very excited to see how God grows and matures and teaches each one of us through this adventure. Because, if I know anything to be TRUE, it is this: His GOODNESS is present with us every step of the way.

So, with that in mind, I thought I’d share something good with you today – a yummy, ‘brightening’, ‘uplifting’ mama-meal like this:

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Herbed Quinoa Fennel Grapefruit Salad

A mama-brightening salad for sure!

Not only will you feel light and clean and bright after eating it, there is JOY in the journey of making it! The fragrance of the basil and mint on your skin, the feel of grapefruit juice running through your fingers as you section out each little piece, the sight of the warm amber honey drizzling over the bowl of freshness. Talk about a party for your senses! And, hey, – isn’t that what all of us mamas need: joy in our journey?

So – enjoy!!!

Here’s what you need to make enough for you and a friend:

Beautiful and fresh ingredients...

Beautiful and fresh ingredients…

  • 1/2 heaping cup of precooked quinoa
  • 1 fennel bulb
  • 3 small grapefruits
  • 6-8 basil leaves, diced
  • 10-12 mint leaves, diced
  • 1 tsp fresh grated ginger
  • 1 TBSP honey
  • a pinch of salt and black pepper
  1. Slice up your fennel bulb in thin slices like this.
  2. Section out your grapefruit pieces like this.
  3. Add pre-cooked quinoa, diced herbs, a pinch of salt and black pepper; toss lightly.
  4. Drizzle the warm honey over the top and, again, toss lightly.

That’s it!

Final notes:

** The basil and mint will turn brown if left too long in the salad… so this is best enjoyed FRESH. If you are going to eat only half and save the rest for later, add the herbs to your portion only.

** The juice from the grapefruit and the honey are the only ‘dressing’ this salad gets. I section my grapefruit right over the main bowl to capture the juice as I work. If you don’t want too much juice in your salad, you may want to section over a separate bowl so you can control how much juice you ‘dress’ the final product with.