Kale and Quinoa for Meatless Monday


Quinoa pronounced keen-wah. What the heck is that? Well, it is a grain, a very small grain that can be very diversified from breakfast, to lunch, to dinner, and even dessert. It can be difficult to find, especially for those in the Midwest (at least when I lived there it was or when I did find it, it was very expensive).  Don't let this discourage you. I substituted (oh yes, as I usually do).


 I happened upon this recipe a year ago from Food52 (click the link for the original recipe) when I was wanting to try Kale, but didn't really know what to do with it. I couldn't find quinoa, so like I stated above I substituted. I used barley. Yep, good old cheap barley for 97 cents a pound. It worked and it was good. The original recipe called for walnut oil. I was not spending that kind of money on walnut oil, that I would use just a few times for it to sit on my pantry shelf. Now, I would MAYBE buy walnut oil, because I would use it as a substitute for some other oil that a recipe called for. Just use olive oil, I still do for this recipe. Oh and the pine nuts that the original recipe called for, yes they were substituted too. I used chopped almonds. Actually the only original ingredients I used for this recipe were the kale, goat cheese, salt and pepper (for this time and photos I did use Quinoa). Guess what it still turns out magnificent each and every time.


Did I mention how easy this was? It is. And it is all cooked in ONE pot. Clean up is easy. In the end you have a great delicious and nutritious dinner waiting for you to enjoy.


KALE AND QUINOA PILAF

2c. salted water
1c. quinoa or quick cooking barley
1 bunch of kale, washed and chopped into 1" length
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 onion, sliced thin
1 clove garlic, minced
1 Tbsp. olive oil
3Tbsp. almonds or other nut
3-4 oz. goat cheese
salt and pepper


     Bring the water to a boil in a LARGE covered pot. Add the quinoa or barley, onions, and garlic, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then top with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes.
     While the grain are cooking, take a large serving bowl and combine half of the lemon juice (reserving the other half), all of the lemon zest, olive oil, nuts, and goat cheese.
     Check the quinoa and kale when the cooking time has completed -- the water should have absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam a bit longer (adding more water if needed). When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff and transfer it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients.    Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper, and the remaining lemon juice if needed.                                                     



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