We had a spring-themed potluck at work last week to celebrate the beginning of the season, so I decided to make a quinoa pilaf with spring vegetables. I found the recipe here on the Epicurious website, which is one of my favorite sources for dinner ideas. But I never follow a recipe exactly. I like to improvise.
I always try to use what I have, and I knew I had quinoa in the pantry (which is the main reason why I chose to make this dish). I had organic chicken broth. I also knew that I had zucchini, bell peppers, and beets. Perfect, right? Well, not really. I didn't have golden beets.
Beets will stain anything and everything, so I was hesitant to mix the beets in with the rest of the quinoa pilaf because I didn't want to turn everything pink. So I prepared the beets separately and kept them in their own pan until it was time to serve.
I think this is one of the most colorful dishes I've ever fixed. The slight crunch of the asparagus was a nice with the softened zucchini and quinoa. I liked the extra flavor that using chicken broth brought to the quinoa. And I love beets, even though they made my dish turn pink at the end.
This is a really versatile recipe, and I think there are endless combinations of vegetables that you could incorporate into the quinoa. I may try to cook the quinoa in a vegetable broth next time, and I might try to add some leafy greens to the dish. I'm curious how that would taste. I have a feeling that I'll be making this quite a bit in the summer, especially during the weeks when we seem to have a squash overload. It's fast and easy, and I can definitely see this becoming a regular weeknight entrée during CSA season.