If you’re seeking a fast and healthy one pot dinner, look no further than the Andean Red Quinoa & Asparagus One Pot Dinner, which is one of my favorites to cook any season – I serve it cold in the summertime and warm when the Fall months start to get chilly. I guess, my one caveat is that “one pot dinner” is a bit of a misnomer, since it’s all about your awesome cast iron skillet!
If you don’t have one yet, don’t worry, any pan will do. After all, there is so much more to this one pot dinner than humble red quinoa. It’s an elegant assortment of flavor, color and nutrients that you can get only from fresh vegetables like asparagus, red onions, portobello mushrooms, and delectable, velvety olive oil. Don’t miss out on this easy pleaser, and make it today. It will take you 45 minutes the first time (but you’ll be able to make it in under 30 if it becomes a staple one pot dinner in your home.
So get that cast iron skillet (or your large pan of choice) and a medium saucepan: let’s get our healthy dinner on!
- 1/4 cup (2 fl. oz./60 ml.) olive oil, plus more for dish and for drizzling
- 1 cup (5 oz./155 g.) red quinoa
- 2 1/2 cups (20 fl. oz./625 ml.) chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/3 cup (1 1/2 oz./45 g.) dried currants
- 3 cloves garlic, minced
- 2 portobello mushrooms, sliced
- 1 small red onion, halved and sliced
- Salt and freshly ground pepper
- 1 tbsp. balsamic vinegar (on the thin/sour side, rather than sticky)
- 3/4 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut into pieces
- 1/3 cup (1/2 oz./15 g.) chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
- Grated zest of 1 lemon
- 4 oz. (125 g.) feta cheese, crumbled
- Pinch of ground coriander
- Set your sauce pan to high heat, and take 2 cups of broth to boiling. Throw in the red quinoa and currants, reduce the heat to a simmer, cover, and cook until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, but keep covered to stay warm.
- Take out your gorgeous cast iron skillet and fire that baby up on high heat with 1/4 cups of olive oil. You’ll know it’s ready for the next step when a drop of water makes it sizzle. I really like to brown my mushrooms first, because portobellos, despite their size, can be quite fragile when you’re stirring them with a lot of stuff. Take 2-3 minutes browning your mushrooms and be careful not to break them with your spatula or tongs.
- Add the garlic and onion and season with salt and pepper generously. Saute until the vegetables soften and begin to brown, 4-6 minutes – keep in mind that if you overcook the onions, they will still be delicious, but if you like them to be firmer and retain their beautiful color, stick to the lower end of the spectrum.
- Stir in the vinegar and cook until absorbed, about 2 minutes. Add the asparagus and toss to coat with the oil. Add the remaining 1/2 cup (4 fl. oz./125 ml.) broth and cook, stirring occasionally, until the asparagus is fork-tender, about 4 minutes.
- Stir in the quinoa, parsley, lemon zest and half of the feta. Remove from the heat and season with salt and pepper. Garnish with the remaining feta, drizzle with olive oil, and serve.
Tip: to make the plate beautiful, pull out a few of the cooked asparagus spears and onion pieces, take off the errant quinoa and place on top with a few crumbles of feta and fresh chopped parsley (and sliced almonds, if you have any). Viola!