Okay, confession time. When I was a kid, one of my favorite things to eat was cheddar broccoli rice. Yes, the kind from the box with the dehydrated spice and “vegetable” packet inside. Another favorite was boxed (flake) mashed potatoes, with either butter, salt and pepper, or melted shredded cheddar cheese. I haven’t tasted either one in years, but every once in awhile I have a craving. Sometimes when I have a headache, a cold, or a particularly stressful day, I crave the boxed, dehydrated comfort food of my childhood.
The great news is this: I don’t have to turn to the box with the sodium bomb spice packet to get my fix! I made the most delicious side dish the other day with whole ingredients from my own pantry. This version has more protein, less sodium, and more flavor than the original, and as an added bonus, I can pronounce all the ingredients. I suggest that you use this as a base recipe and add your favorite vegetables into the mix. Both broccoli and peas work really well in this. I think chopped greens would be great too. If you would prefer to make it vegan, simply substitute nutritional yeast for the cheese. Your choice!
Quinoa with Olives and Parmesan
- 1 Tablespoon olive oil
- 4 scallions, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1/4 cup kalamata olives, chopped
- Fresh ground black pepper
- 1/2 cup grated Parmesan
- vegan option: substitute 1/4 cup nutritional yeast for Parmesan
- Heat olive oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat.
- Add scallions and garlic to hot pan and saute until fragrant.
- Add quinoa to pan and stir to mix. Add 2 cups of water to pan and increase heat to medium-high.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and lower heat to medium-low. Simmer until water is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.
- Stir in olives and pepper to taste. Add either Parmesan or nutritional yeast and stir to combine.