From time to time, people will ask me which season is my favorite for food. I have to say, it's a really tough call. I love fall for the sweet potatoes, butternut squash, pumpkin, cranberries, and (obviously) apples. Winter, with its roasts, soups, and stews is always great. And seriously...who doesn't love fresh summer produce?
It sounds funny to say, but I think spring sometimes gets the short end of the stick. Spring has some awesome highlights--asparagus, beets, and strawberries, to name a few. But I feel like spring is pretty much just the beginning of what we all love about summer. And you know what? I think that's fine. Because anything that leads up to summer produce is a good thing in my book.
This dish is inspired by basic pasta primavera (Italian for spring). I love the way this Italian classic adapts to and highlights the best of what the season and the market has to offer. I swapped out the pasta for quinoa to make for a complete protein-packed meal featuring tons of gorgeous roasted spring vegetables. It's a perfect meatless meal for me, though it would also make a great side dish for more carnivorous types. It's really quite flexible. If you don't love the blend of veggies I've chosen here, just change it up to showcase your favorites. I really don't think you can go wrong!
inspired by Giada DeLaurentiis, Everyday Italian
2 carrots, peeled and chopped
1 medium zucchini, chopped
1 medium yellow squash, chopped
1 red onion, chopped
1 red, yellow, or orange bell pepper, chopped
12 cherry tomatoes, halved
3 cloves garlic, minced or pressed
1/4 TBSP olive oil
sea salt and fresh black pepper, to taste
2 c. uncooked quinoa
1/2 c. grated Parmesan cheese
3 TBSP minced fresh basil
3 TBSP minced Italian parsley
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F. Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil for easy clean up, if desired.
2. In a large bowl, toss together vegetables, garlic, olive oil, salt, pepper, and herbes de Provence. Spread out on to prepared baking sheet and roast 20 minutes, stirring halfway through.
3. Meanwhile, place quinoa in a medium pot over high heat. Toast quinoa, tossing occasionally when you hear popping noises, until lightly browned, about 3 minutes total. Cook quinoa according to package directions.
4. When quinoa and vegetable are done, toss together, making sure to get as much oil off the baking sheet as possible. Stir in cheese, basil, and parsley. Taste and adjust seasonings, as desired. Serve immediately.
Yields: 4-6 main dish servings
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