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)
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Let your quinoa rest for a few minutes. Fluff it with a fork. Transfer it to a large bowl.
- To the quinoa, add your lemon juice and a good glug of olive oil. Mix well.
- Then, add the remaining ingredients: chickpeas and olives and pomegranate arils and sprouts. Blend well. Garnish with crumbled Apricot Stilton.