Quinoa with Pomegranate and Maple Brussels Sprouts

Tonight’s dinner figured into my ongoing Cook From the Pantry plan. In the cupboard and fridge: quinoa, chickpeas, Apricot Stilton, and a few giant olives from Valencia Whole Foods. Purchased: Brussels sprouts, a pomegranate, a lemon. Random? Y. Tasty? Also Y.

The dish I came up with had a lot going on, texturally and w/r/t flavor. Not too much going on, but it toed the line, for sure. That’s cool: I like to keep things interesting, both at the table and in life.

Initially worried that this dish would be bland, I was pleased by the combination of pomegranate arils + Stilton + maple sprouts. The sprouts tasted almost like caramel corn (and I’m not even exaggerating here: you know I’m not one of those ladiez who claims oatmeal tastes like creme brulee). Yeah, I was heavy-handed with the syrup, but that’s not a bad thing. The pom arils provided some tartness and crunch — tartness enhanced by the cheese’s pungency — and the olives (god bless ’em) added much-needed salt. Note: when I make this dish again, I’m going to salt the quinoa (not just the Brussels sprouts).

On a scale of 1 to 10, I’d give this lit’l guy a 6.75 — satisfying, light, and mellow. Pretty perfect for this Thursday night.

Budget about 45 minutes to make this dish: prep is fairly minimal, but the sprouts and quinoa require a bit of cooking time. I can’t yet say how well this reheats, but I’m stoked to have a bowl for tomorrow’s lunch.

Quinoa with Pomegranate And Maple Brussels Sprouts (serves 4)

Ingredients

  • Extra-virgin olive oil
  • Approximately 1/3 cup pure maple syrup
  • Approximately 12 ounces Brussels sprouts, trimmed and quartered (or halved, if they’re smallish sprouts)
  • One pomegranate’s worth of arils
  • Five giant olives, chopped
  • Approximately 8 ounces canned chickpeas, rinsed and drained
  • 1 cup white quinoa (rinsed)
  • Juice of 1/2 lemon
  • Apricot Stilton (as much as you please: duh)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Method

  1. To begin, prepare your sprouts. Preheat your oven to 350; as the oven heats, toss your sprouts in a mixture of olive oil, maple syrup, salt, and pepper. Spread sprouts on a cookie sheet (or pizza pan) and bake for 15-20 minutes — enough to soften them but not so much that they become crispy critters. Keep your eye on the sprouts: they’ll surprise you.
  2. As the sprouts roast, chop your olives. Remove the arils from your pomegranate (Protip: wear an apron, and don’t wear a light-colored shirt, as I did). Place these items, along with the chickpeas, in a medium bowl.
  3. Now, prepare your quinoa! Fill a medium saucepan with two cups of water and one cup of quinoa. Bring the water to a boil and, once it’s boiling, reduce it to a simmer. You can set your timer for 12-or-so minutes. Or, if you’re like me, you can eyeball it (“eyeball it”) — your quinoa is done once all the water in the pot has been absorbed and the quinoa beads appear to be shedding their outer skins.
  4. Let your quinoa rest for a few minutes. Fluff it with a fork. Transfer it to a large bowl.
  5. To the quinoa, add your lemon juice and a good glug of olive oil. Mix well.
  6. Then, add the remaining ingredients: chickpeas and olives and pomegranate arils and sprouts. Blend well. Garnish with crumbled Apricot Stilton.
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