Autumn Quinoa Bowl
You can never go wrong with a simple hearty meal in a bowl on an autumn day, but hearty dishes don’t necessarily need to consist of meat or meat products. It can be some sort of starchy vegetable best consumed in the fall and winter seasons when our bodies crave tasty comfort food and warm, filling dishes. The subtle sweet flavors of leeks and sweet potatoes form a perfection partnership in my recipe for autumn quinoa bowl, while the Bartlett pear adds compliments the dish without stealing the show.
Most of my one-bowl dishes contain quinoa or basmati rice because I find both very easy to prepare. There are different types of quinoa out there, but I use 365 white quinoa from Whole Foods in this recipe because the leeks, sweet potatoes and pear give this dish all the flavor it needs. Tricolor quinoa from Trader’s Joe’s is a great substitute, as is Roland’s white pre-washed quinoa.
When using spices, make sure they’re fresh.I tend to buy spices in very small quantities and use them in my cooking whenever possible. I always keep rosemary, oregano, and tarragon around, my go-to spices for veggie dishes. Rosemary leaves are simple to remove from the stem. Just hold the top of the rosemary sprig and run your fingers down the stem. The leaves should fall right off.
I purchased a Lodge Cast Iron Enamel Dutch Oven and after almost six months I’m happy to say I have no regrets. The downside is the weight. On its own, the pot weighs a bit much and lifting it to place in the oven for meals which require baking time requires a whole lot of strength. (Time to hit the gym, I guess). On the flipside, the quality of this particular pot is fantastic. It’s ability to maintain even, consistent heat produces amazing dishes.
I don’t know why I waited so long to invest in the Dutch oven, but it’s totally worth it. I’ll admit I treat my Dutch oven like a baby, keeping harsh detergents and brillo pads away from it. I soak in hot water and a mild detergent for half an hour after every use and wash with a soft towel. I highly recommend one if you’re a home cook looking for an amazing piece of cookware for the fraction of the price of a Staub or Le Creuset Dutch oven.
Serving Size: About 6
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
3 cups sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into 1-inch chunks
2 leeks, trimmed and cut into 1-inch slices
1 Bartlett pear, peeled and cut into cubes
1/2 cup low sodium vegetable broth
1 tablespoon ground tarragon
1 rosemary sprig, leaves removed from stem and chopped
3 cups cooked quinoa
Prepare quinoa as directed on the package. Set aside.
In a large pot over low-medium heat, heat olive oil. Add sweet potatoes and stir for about a minute until coated. Pour 1/4 cup of broth over the potato chunks and cover. Let cook for 10 minutes, stirring halfway through. Uncover and add leeks, pears, tarragon, and rosemary to the pot. Pour remaining stock into the pot, cover, and cook over low heat for 10 minutes.
Divide quinoa into 6 bowls, 1/2 cup each. With a large spoon evenly distribute cooked vegetables. Serve with sliced baguette.