I had a holiday pot luck lunch at work this week. I remembered it fondly and with terror from last year. With about 70% homemade desserts, and 30% deliciously heavy holiday apps and sides, I left the lunch on a jolly sugar high that would crash miserably around 2 pm. I figured that as resident health blogger, I might as well contribute one dish that would be somewhat healthy but still have a holiday flare. Thats why I threw together this quinoa, filled with roasted winter vegetables and festive fruit. I’m glad to say that we all happily made a little room on our cheese, bread, and cake filled plates for some of this high protein, veggie packed dish.
Key ingredient 1: Brussel sprouts. On the vine!
Key ingredient #2 and 3: Gorgeous winter fruit like organic granny smith apples and my favorite little jems…pomegranate seeds.
Key Ingredient #4: Roasted sweet potatoes. Because what holiday is complete without these beautiful spuds?
I love making quinoa because it can be a catch all for any ingredients you want to throw together. In this case, my random selection of my favorite winter produce + some toasted pecans and goat cheese made a gorgeous, healthy salad, that even among such tempting treats, was a total crowd favorite at the Holiday party!
Nutritional Highlights: I feel like I’m constantly going on and on about brussel sprouts and sweet potatoes…I’m kind of having an obsessive phase. Although it shouldn’t be a just phase, because they’re CRAZY good for you. Cruciferous veggies are high in calcium and sweet potatoes in beta carotene–and both are always finding themselves on “top 10 foods for you” lists. Pomegranates are up there too, with their antioxidant powers. And quinoa, even though it looks like your average grain, is packed with protein and low in calories.
Quinoa with Roasted Winter Vegetables, Fruit, and Goat Cheese
- 1 cup dry quinoa, cooked according to directions on the box
- 3 small sweet potatoes peeled, cubed
- 1 stalk of brussel sprouts, cleaned, halved
- 2 granny smith apples, chopped
- Seeds from 1 small pomegranate
- 1/2 cup toasted pecans
- crumbled goat cheese
- Apple Cider vinaigrette, recipe follows
Instructions: While quinoa is cooking, roast vegetables. Ideal cooking temp for potatoes would be 425 and for brussels 375 but for the purpose of ease of this recipe, you can roast them together at 400 degrees. Drizzle with olive oil, a little maple syrup, and salt and pepper spread out in one layer and roast for about 30 minutes or until just tender and brown. Cool quinoa and veggies. Mix all ingredients including fruit, nuts, and goat cheese. Toss with a little vinaigrette and enjoy this simple, yet incredibly tasty holiday salad.
Apple cider vinaigrette: Mix 1/4 cup olive oil with 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar, 1/2 finely chopped shallot, 1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard, a squeeze of honey, salt, and pepper. Taste and adjust if needed. Toss dressing with quinoa before serving.