Today’s recipe, Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with Pistachios, was made by Kristin van Ogtrop, Real Simple’s managing editor.
I eagerly signed up to make Roasted Vegetable and Quinoa Salad with Pistachios, because I would like my family to start eating more vegetarian meals. As it turns out, I am alone in that desire. But more on that in a minute.
First of all, I didn’t realize that I didn’t have enough big carrots, so I used baby carrots to supplement. I used cremini mushrooms because shiitake are too expensive for a food that my kids would probably refuse to eat. I also washed my mushrooms with water, which I’ve read a million times that you’re not supposed to do, but brushing them with a dry brush is just completely suspicious to me, from a embedded-dirt perspective. I don’t have two rimmed baking sheets, so I roasted the carrots and mushrooms on one sheet. They got a bit watery in the pan, no doubt because I washed the mushrooms. (Note: Actually after a conversation with our food director, Allie, it wasn’t washing the mushrooms that caused the carrots and mushrooms to get watery, but the fact that they were crowded into one pan.) I also had to leave to drive one of my kids to a meeting the second I turned off the oven, so I left the vegetables in the oven (oven was off) for 20 more minutes and hoped the water would be gone by the time I got home. And it was!
Vegetarians will shudder to hear that I used chicken stock to make the quinoa. I know, I know—it sort of defeats the purpose. But I did it because, when my 13-year-old middle son asked me what was for dinner, his immediate response was “Mom, you KNOW I don’t like quinoa.”
And guess what? He really doesn’t. Even if I make it with chicken stock. He did eat the spinach (which I sneakily called “greens,” because he says he hates spinach, too) and the carrots. My four-year-old took one bite of mushroom, looked like I had played a terrible practical joke on him, and demanded a glass of milk to wash it down. All he would eat was the carrots. Truth be told, the meal ended with him in tears.
All that said, my husband, 16-year-old, and I loved the dish (even if, uh, we all had to have a snack about two hours later). So word to the wise: unless you have fairly adventuresome eaters, this is a sophisticated dish that suspicious kids will reject after the first bite. But the rest of you will love it.