Carrot & Quinoa Pilaf

Last Saturday I headed to the farmer’s market with visions of fresh peas and garlic scapes dancing in my head. For weeks now it’s been April, and foodies all over the blogosphere have been posting delectable spring treasures. Apparently they haven’t been shopping at the Brooklyn markets because here they are still selling bags of parsnips. Bunches of hearty collard greens and thick winter carrots. The only thing remotely Spring-y was a bunch of chives which I snatched up quick.

The chives ended up on everything I’ve made so far this week, including this quinoa. I took those dense carrots and grated them fine, throwing them in raw to lighten the dish up. Along with the toasty almonds and lemon-y dressing, I did a fair job of creating a dish reminiscent of Spring without the asparagus and ramps. Feel free to use any color of quinoa you’ve got hanging around – I used half white and half red for the prettiness factor. Also, if you can find other Spring produce, by all means throw it in, either raw or lightly cooked.

I served this alongside the Chermoula Tempeh for a full and delicious meal that we gobbled right up.

So, what Spring produce have you been able to find at the markets so far this year?

Carrot & Quinoa Pilaf

2 T. olive oil, divided
1 shallot, sliced thin
1 c. quinoa (I used 1/2 white and 1/2 red)
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/3 c. sliced almonds
2 large carrots
juice of 1/2 a lemon
1/2 c. lightly packed chives, chopped fine

Heat 1 tablespoon of the oil in a pot over medium heat. Saute the shallots for a few minutes until soft and translucent, 4-5 minutes. Pour in the quinoa and salt, stir to combine, then add 1 1/2 c of water. Cover, bring to a boil, turn to low and simmer for 15 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and the water is gone. Let sit, covered for 5 minutes then fluff with a fork.

While the quinoa is cooking, toast the almonds. Place them in a dry skillet over medium heat and toast until brown and fragrant, stirring a few times along the way. Set aside.

Grate or finely slice the carrots. I use a julienne peeler to make long thin shreds, but a box grater is fine. Or a mandoline if you want to get fancy. If you have great knife skills you could also slice them thinly.

To serve, toss most of the almonds, carrots and chives with the quinoa. Pour in the remaining tablespoon of oil and the lemon juice and toss to combine. Turn out onto a serving bowl and top with the rest of the almonds, carrots and chives.

serves 4

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