Quinoa with roasted vegetable (and a pre-dinner mojitos cocktail)

Am I the only one who hasn't been cooking with quinoa on a regular basis??! I've cooked with it several times previously, but its never been part of a regular rotation. I adore it...it's nutty flavor and fun texture adds a lot to a dish and it's incredibly simple to prepare. When I make it, I feel like I'm stepping it up a bit from brown rice or pasta, when really it's easier to cook than either of those foods!

20110730-021333.jpg About an hour before dinner, you will want to stick your chopped veggies into the oven to roast at 375 degrees. To toast to summer's lovely vegetable bounty, I roasted a pound of mini heirloom tomatoes, 4-5 small zucchinis, and 1 small onion. Cut all of the vegetables to about the same size so they roast evenly, toss with a coating of olive oil and some kosher salt. The vegetables will roast on their own so that you can enjoy the night outdoors, but I do recommend stirring once or twice during their hour of cooking for even browning.



Before you head outside, make a round of mojitos. They don't exactly go with the dinner theme, but we had tons of fresh mint and, wow, they were good! Note: The simple syrup should be made earlier in the day so it has time to cool down. It will last for weeks in the refrigerator in a sealed container making future mojito or other cocktail nights even easier!.


Fifteen minutes prior to eating, you will have to tear yourself away from the outdoors to start the quinoa. Add 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water to a medium pot. Bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook for 10-15 minutes, or until water is gone. Seriously. That's it!

Mix the quinoa into the roasting pan with the vegetables. Serve with some fresh summer fruit...we enjoyed it with figs and mangos. Oh, and you can add sparkling water to the mint and limes left behind in your mojitos glass for a refreshing and hydrating dinner beverage.