Day 8: A Sophisticated Quinoa Salad

September 28, 2011 | By | Comments (3)

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.

Quinoa Salad Ingredients

Luckily I had a lot of the ingredients already in my pantry:  the quinoa, the fresh lemon, pistachios, even the thyme (!).  The recipe was exceedingly easy to assemble, although I modified it a bit.

Roasting carrots and mushrooms

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!

Mixing vegetables and quinoa

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.

Vegetable and Quinoa Salad

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.

Join in on our Month of Easy Dinners by sharing your delicious photos on RealSimple.com, and of course check back tomorrow for the next recipe from our editors.

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