Healthy Vegetarian Recipe — Quinoa With Roasted Vegetables and Tahini Sauce
Hey Plant-Based Pixies! This is one of my favorite recipes that I make all the time. It's Mediterranean-inspired, but it's so versatile you can create many different versions with flavors from around the world!
I'm not a complicated cook. I like to make things that are easy, flavorful, and nutrient-rich. This simple weekday meal fits the bill. Cook time on this is about 30 minutes and prep is about 10 minutes, which includes preparing the vegetables, cooking the quinoa, and making the tahini sauce.
I'm not going to include a specific recipe, because honestly, I don't cook from recipes. I tend to cook freestyle. Below I've provided some basic instructions, and you can watch the video to get an overview of the steps and process.
Watch the Video!! >>>>
Let's Talk About the Ingredients
Butternut squash: Chock full of vitamin A. I use defrosted frozen organic butternut squash because it's so much easier than cutting up raw squash and cooking it. Frozen vegetables are just as nutritious as fresh vegetables. Read more about this from NPR.
Brussels sprouts: Part of the cruciferous family of vegetables, Brussels sprouts are like tiny little cabbages. They're so cute! And they're hella healthy, full of fiber and antioxidants.
Cherry tomatoes: I eat cherry tomatoes on everything. OK, they're not exactly in season right now, but I gotta have them year-round. Roasting cherry tomatoes really brings out their sweetness. Plus, eating cooked tomatoes may offer more health benefits than raw because cooking releases more of the potent antioxidant lycopene.
Quinoa: This unique "pseudograin" is a great source of plant-based protein with 8 grams per cooked cup. It is also mild and pillowy with a little crunch that is a delightful base for roasted veggies and sauce!
Garbanzo beans: My favorite bean and another great source of plant-based protein with 15 grams per cup. I use organic canned garbanzo beans.
Olive oil: I never use any other kind of oil than organic, extra virgin olive oil. Olive oil is the basis of the Mediterranean diet, a rich source of heart- and brain-healthy fats, and just plain delicious.
Lemon: The perfect low-calorie flavor enhancer and rich in vitamin C. I use lemon on so many things to bring out brightness and freshness.
Garlic: Keeps the vampires away, duh :-)
Tahini: Made of ground sesame seeds, tahini is creamy and rich and offers plentiful amounts of healthy fats, iron and calcium. I buy jarred raw, organic tahini, but you can also make your own. Check out this blog post from the Minimalist Baker to find out how.
Pumpkin seeds: You can never have too many seeds, and pumpkin seeds are some of the healthiest around. They're packed with protein, fiber and minerals, such as iron, copper, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous, zinc, potassium, folate, niacin and selenium. They are also another source of healthy fats. I always use raw, organic seeds.
Vegan feta cheese: It's hard to find good vegan feta cheese, but I am in love with Violife's Just Like Feta. It is seriously flavorful and really tastes just like feta!
Now for the Instructions
1. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
2. Trim the Brussels sprouts. If they are very small, leave them whole; if not cut them in half. Toss in a tiny bit of olive oil and sea salt and spread on a baking sheet. Pop them in the oven for 15 minutes.
3. Cook the quinoa according to package directions. Check out this post from my favorite cooking blog, Cookie + Kate, about how to cook quinoa.
4. Halve the cherry tomatoes and combine with the defrosted squash, a little olive oil, and sea salt. Set aside.
5. Make the tahini sauce. Combine chopped fresh garlic with freshly squeezed lemon juice, tahini and salt to taste in a blender. Blend until smooth. It should be pourable like a dressing (watch the video for the right consistency.) If it's too thick add more lemon juice or some water. Taste as you go! Make sure it's seasoned to your liking.
6. Remove the Brussels sprouts from the oven after 15 minutes. They should be lightly browned. Add the tomatoes and squash and give everything a stir. Pop back in the oven for 15 minutes.
7. Rinse the garbanzo beans.
8. When the quinoa is ready, fluff it with a fork. Scoop some into a bowl. Top it with some of the roasted vegetables and garbanzo beans, then sprinkle it with some pumpkin seeds and cubed feta. Lastly, drizzle the tahini sauce over top.
Make extra, because this is great as leftovers for lunch the next day or even one or two more dinners.
And don't forget the red wine, cuz you can never have too many antioxidants! :)
Written by health and fitness expert and PIXIBU founder Jody Braverman, PN1, NASM-CPT, NASM-FNS, RYT 200.
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