I have been planning to post this recipe for a while since it’s one I find myself making weekly. When I first started a blog, I thought it would be a fun way to document all the things I find myself cooking up in the kitchen. The perfect pictures I’ve admired for so long on all of my favorite blogs appear so natural and effortless, so what I neglected to consider was the actual time spent taking pictures; selecting the bowls and plates to use, setting up and disassembling of “props,” and then the actual photography time. While I really do enjoy the whole process, it’s usually not something I can fit in just before lunch or dinner time. So, I don’t get to blog everything I make, but I try to always go back and remake my favorites.
So, when it comes to setting time aside to cook or bake something specifically for photographing, I often want to make something more time intensive or special. But this week, with the snow and rain and below zero temperatures, I wanted something warm, comforting, and nourishing to eat. I was having a conversation with a friend the other day about foods that we find comforting. It’s funny how for some people that can mean a donut or a large bowl of ice cream, and for others something completely different. I know that in these cold months, comfort food for me is often warm and heavier, more grounding, but not too heavy that I’ll feel even more lethargic after eating it. That’s where quinoa comes in. I know the quinoa recipes on this blog are starting to demand a category of their own, but I really enjoy eating it since I find it filling and satisfying but not too heavy. After sharing my go-to summer quinoa salad, it’s only fitting that I post its winter equivalent.
Instead of tossing the cooked quinoa with my favorite vegetables, I cook them all together, leading to a whole new richness of flavor. The deep colors and varying textures make this a treat for all your senses. While it’s completely delicious as it is on its own, the quinoa just doesn’t taste complete without the added crunch of the toasted pumpkin seeds. Tasty hot or cold, I can honestly eat this quinoa for any meal. Many mornings, it has served as a nice warm breakfast, or cold for lunch on top of some greens with a drizzle of dressing.
Winter Quinoa Casserole
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/2 leek, chopped
1 large carrot, chopped
1 large celery stalk, chopped
1/4 large bell pepper (about 1/8 cup), chopped
1 kale leaf, vein removed and finely chopped
1 cup quinoa, well rinsed
1 tablespoon goji berries
1 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/2 cups water
1/4 cup raw pumpkin seeds (pepitas)
pinch of himalayan sea salt
Heat coconut oil in large saucepan then add leeks and carrots. Stir constantly as the carrots and leak brown, careful not to let them burn. After a couple minutes, add the celery, peppers, kale, quinoa, goji berries, and sea salt. Stir well, add the water, and stir again. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat to low, cover, and allow to simmer. When all the liquid has been absorbed, about 20 minutes, fluff with a fork.
While the quinoa is cooking, toast the pumpkin seeds. To do this on the stovetop, place seeds in a dry skillet over medium heat for 3-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from pan to cool.
Sprinkle toasted pumpkin seeds on before serving.