Quinoa with Balsamic Roasted Mushrooms

Whole Foods had quite a few gems for me this past week.  This is another of their winning recipes both for flavor and for the healthy prep.  Of course I changed it up a bit to suit my needs.  Then I served it along-side a very rich cut of meat.  Hey, you’ve got to cut your fat and calorie corners where you can right?
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
1 small pear, peeled and cored
1 garlic clove
2 pounds portobello mushrooms, stemmed
1 cup quinoa
3 cups spinach, chopped
4 chives, chopped
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

  • Preheat oven to 425°F.
  • Put vinegar, pear and garlic in a blender with 1/3 cup water and blend until smooth, about 1 minute. Cut mushrooms into chunks and combine in a large mixing bowl with 1/4 cup of the pear balsamic dressing. Spread mushrooms in a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet. Roast mushrooms until tender, stirring occasionally, 20 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool slightly.   *I can honestly say that when I pulled the mushrooms from their roasting in the oven they looked and smelled burnt.  In fact, Neil asked whether or not I was still going to use them in dinner.  I scraped them off of the baking sheet and plopped them into the salad and they were very good.  I do believe that Neil was surprised at the beautiful flavor and texture that came from these beastly looking little things (as was I).
  • While mushrooms roast, prepare quinoa. In a medium pot, bring 1 3/4 cups water to a boil. Stir in quinoa, cover pot, reduce heat to low and simmer for 15 minutes. Remove pot from heat and set aside, covered, 10 minutes more. Uncover and fluff.
  • Combine mushrooms, quinoa, spinach, chives, salt, pepper and remaining pear balsamic dressing in a large, wide serving bowl. Stir to mix well.

This salad is packed with fantastic flavor, and does well left-over for lunch the next day, cold.
For dinner I had cooked up a rack of lamb in honey and balsamic vinegar, sage, and garlic:
And roasted some asparagus:
and had a wonderful dinner which balanced well the fatty lamb with the lean veg and salad.


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