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spring vegetable + quinoa pilaf

spring has definitely sprung here in nashville, which means that the heavier stews + soups that i craved all winter are no longer sounding as good to me. instead, around dinnertime, i’m craving lighter meals – grilled chicken, seafood, or burgers with light, veggie-filled side dishes. earlier this week, when my husband fired up the grill on a warm, gorgeous night to make some burgers, i remembered this quinoa + veggie pilaf recipe that i’d been wanting to try + decided to give it a spin.

so, how was it? surprisingly, awesome! i worried it would be a bit bland, but that wasn’t the case. all the veggies + the olive oil in which they sautéed provided a ton of awesome flavor to the dish. also, the quinoa took on a creamy, risotto-like texture, from the juice of the veggies + the olive oil, which was divine. it was the perfect, light accompaniment to some awesomely-grilled burgers (thanks, husband!) + was even more flavorful the next day as leftovers. another plus – it’s easily adaptable depending on which vegetables you like or dislike. so next time you’re looking for a delicious, quick, + easy weeknight side dish that’s wonderfully healthy, give this quinoa + vegetable pilaf a try!

spring vegetable + quinoa pilaf

makes 4 servings, adapted from bon appetit

ingredients

1 3/4 cups low-sodium chicken broth
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt plus additional for seasoning
1 cup quinoa, rinsed + drained 3 times
3 tablespoons olive oil
4 garlic cloves, minced
1 cup 1/2-inch pieces red bell peppers
1/2 pound green beans, trimmed, cut on diagonal into 3/4-inch pieces
2 cups 1/2-inch pieces trimmed baby zucchini + summer squash
freshly ground black pepper
4 green onions, thinly sliced
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
the juice of 1 lemon
1 tablespoon chopped fresh italian parsley, optional, for garnish

directions

bring broth + 1/2 teaspoon salt to boil in medium saucepan; add quinoa. cover, reduce heat to low, + simmer until quinoa is tender + broth is absorbed, about 15 minutes. remove from heat; fluff with fork. cover + reserve.

meanwhile, heat a large non-stick skillet to medium. add olive oil + garlic; sauté about 1 minute, until garlic is fragrant. add bell peppers, green beans, zucchini + squash. season with salt + black pepper to taste. sauté until just tender, about 8 minutes. add cooked quinoa, thyme, lemon juice, + green onions to vegetables in skillet; toss to combine. season with sea salt + pepper, + garnish with parsley, if using.