Spinach Parmesan Quinoa is a simple, delicious side dish requiring just 5 ingredients. I came up with this recipe on the fly one night when I needed something to go with our dinner entrée that I could prepare quickly. The nice thing about Spinach Parmesan Quinoa is that it checks both the “vegetable” and “starch” box. With only a handful of ingredients, it is perfect for busy weeknight dinners. The sun-dried tomatoes are a delicious, savory addition to the quinoa and spinach, and provide a welcome pop of color, while the parmesan cheese adds a creamy quality and eliminates the need for any additional seasoning. This is a real winner of a side dish!
Quinoa has become quite popular over the past decade for good reasons. It’s gluten-free, high in protein and fiber, and a good source of iron. But what sets quinoa apart from other whole grains, and earns it the right to be called a superfood, is the fact that it’s one of the few plant foods considered to be a complete protein, meaning that it contains all 9 of the essential amino acids your body can’t produce on its own. Amino acids are biologically significant in a number of ways; suffice it to say that along with proteins, amino acids are the building blocks of life. “Essential” amino acids are especially important, because unlike “nonessential” amino acids they cannot be made by our bodies and must come from food. This fact alone is reason enough to eat quinoa on a regular basis!
This recipe calls for fresh, finely chopped spinach. I used baby spinach because that is what I always have on hand and because the leaves made a beautiful garnish for the plate.
I’ve been a little obsessed with quinoa for a while now and have been using it in all sorts of recipes. Check out: Quinoa Cannellini Cakes, Quinoa Lace Cookies, and Thin and Crispy Quinoa Crust Pizza. I recently discovered an AMAZING recipe for Quinoa Chia Bread and I’ll be posting that later this month. You will not believe how good this bread is!
So, that covers using quinoa in cakes, cookies, pizza, and bread, but you can also add quinoa to smoothies, eat it for breakfast (like you would oatmeal), and swap it for rice in any number of dishes. The possible uses for this versatile whole grain are endless. The fact that it’s so nutritious is a bonus.
- 2 cups vegetable stock
- 1 cup quinoa
- 5½ ounces finely chopped fresh spinach
- ½ cup finely grated parmesan cheese-2 ½ ounces
- ½ cup/3 ounces oil packed sun-dried tomatoes, julienned
- baby spinach leaves (optional garnish)
- Combine vegetable stock and quinoa and bring to a vigorous boil over medium high heat. Reduce heat and simmer until quinoa is tender but still chewy, about 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in spinach, parmesan cheese, and sun-dried tomatoes. Transfer to a serving plate/platter and garnish with baby spinach leaves if desired.
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