Thursday, May 17, 2012

Real Food Side Dish: Simple Lemon Quinoa with Peas and Carrots

Oh good! I am so glad you all have arrived! For those just joining us, I am host #5 of a progressive virtual dinner party in celebration of Jamie Oliver Foundation's Food Revolution Day. I know we've been making toasts to Food Revolution Day at each of our stops, but I hope you'll join me one more time. I am a huge fan of giving busy parents the skills and excitement to get into their kitchens and cook great food for their families. Around here, every day is Food Revolution Day!! Anyway, come on in! I hope that you didn't eat too much of the Grilled Asparagus with Homemade Garlic Mayo over at Grace's because I have a delicious whole grain side dish to share with you all next. 

Hmm, my house is in state of chaos, as always. I think we'll eat outside today! Just step over the Ben Franklin school project that has taken over our foyer, and follow me into the kitchen...

You all know that I love to make really amazing, family-friendly, healthy foods... but I am all about keeping recipes simple. The recipe I am sharing with you all today has just a few ingredients: vegetable broth, quinoa, fresh carrots, lemons, and fresh or frozen peas. It's light and simple as is. Or, you can jazz it up a bit with fresh herbs, or spices, if you'd like.

This whole grain side dish takes about 15-20 minutes from start to finish. Plenty of time to set the table.

Oh! You like my centerpieces? Yes, well, they are one-of-a-kind. Every meal around here features some of my children's artwork, which often serve as great dinnertime conversation starters. 

Alright, table is set, and my quinoa side dish is done. It's nice and light as is... but a little plain for my tastes.

So, I gave the kids some kitchen shears and asked them to trim a few herbs to put out on the table.

I thought each of you could customize your quinoa. Kind of fun, don't you think?

Oh, and while I love, love, love my kids... I went ahead and fed them before you arrived.

I always give my kids some version of what we're having. They missed out on Billy's Bacon Wrapped Blue Cheese Dates, Brianne's Roasted Tomato and Pepper Soup, Jeanne's Grilled Tilapia with Mango Salsa and Grace's Grilled Asparagus with Homemade Garlic Mayo, but they really liked the simplicity of the quinoa. I had some grilled chicken leftover from last night, and chopped extra carrots as a veggie side for them. While they've enjoyed playing in the yard up until now, something tells me they are going to want to try dessert. Rumor has it that Bettina is whipping up some sort of cake with berries and cream. I know everyone is excited for that, so let me share the recipe for Simple Lemon Quinoa with Peas and Carrots, then we can all trot over to The Lunch Tray for dessert!

Simple Lemon Quinoa with Peas and Carrots
(makes 6 servings)

2 cups vegetable broth*
1 cup organic quinoa
2 lemons, zested and juiced
1 cup peas, fresh or frozen
3 carrots, diced
salt & pepper, to taste
fresh herbs (optional)**

Bring broth to a boil in a medium saucepan. Add quinoa and lower to a simmer. Cook, covered, for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, add the carrots and peas, and cook covered for 5 more minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Add lemon juice, lemon zest, and salt and pepper to taste. Fluff with a fork and serve warm or room temp. 

*Or 2 cups water and 1 vegetable bouillon cube. My favorite brand is Rapunzel Vegetable Bouillion. I use the "no salt added" variety, so I can monitor the amount of salt going into my recipes.

** I put fresh basil, mint and parsley out on the table so each guest could add the herb of choice to their side dish.

Oh, by the way, I doubled the recipe tonight, because we'll be enjoying it again in a day. By simply adding in some grilled vegetables, tofu, chicken, shrimp or chicken sausages, this quinoa becomes a made-ahead dinner. Perfect!

I don't know about you guys, but I am one happy eater right now. Before we head over to Bettina's, the author of The Lunch Tray, to see what she's whipped up for dessert, please leave a comment below letting me know what you are doing to commemorate Food Revolution Day, or to share your favorite simple side dish recipe. I'll use at 1pm (EDT) on Saturday, May 19th to choose one lucky winner of 4 sectioned plates. You know I love my sectioned plates!! As a busy mom, they remind me to give my children a variety of foods at each meal. These fish-themed ones are so fun for summer.

Alright, I'm ready for dessert! In case you missed any of the other courses, here are the links:
Appetizer from Time at the Table
Soup from Red, Round or Green
Entree from The Jolly Tomato
Veggie Side from
Whole Grain Side from the full plate blog
Dessert from The Lunch Tray


  1. AnonymousMay 18, 2012

    That salad makes my mouth water ! Thanks for always inspiring. To commemorate food revolution day the kids and I are going to make a salad from our garden. We already have lettuce, mint and strawberries - yum! - shiva

  2. This looks wonderful, Eila! I love lemony flavors in my quinoa, and I think it's a great idea to make more for dinner the next day too. This dinner was fun - let's do it again!

  3. Shiva! you are the winner!! chose 1.... not too stiff of competition, ha ha ha!! I hope you enjoy these fun plates with your children this summer!!


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