Quinoa with Beets and Sweet Potatoes - Sweet & Savory Kitchens

Margaux says…

We eat quinoa like it’s going out of style in the summer.  Now it’s finally fall (I don’t know about where you live, but in Chicago I thought summer was never going to end!), and I wasn’t ready to give up my go-to dinner starter, but I’m definitely not in the mood for more salads.  So this week I tested out a couple of quinoa side dishes (or in one case we ate it as the main dish with a poached egg on top) that were amazing!  They’re based on a recipe in one of my old Martha Stewart magazines for quinoa hash, which is where I got the idea for the poached egg.  These would be great also as side dishes for Thanksgiving dinner!  Especially if you have vegetarians or vegans in your family, as quinoa has a good amount of protein and can be eaten as a main dish.  I served the beet-sweet potato one with roasted chicken, and it was delicious as a weekend meal.

Quinoa with Roasted Vegetables and Brussels Sprouts - sweet & Savory Kitchens

I see Aunt Suzy and I are on the same wavelength…her latest post is very similar to mine, with forbidden rice instead of quinoa.  Can’t wait to try that one out, too!  There are numerous combinations of things that you can toss with the cooked quinoa; these are just the two that I have made so far.

Aunt Suzy says . . . 

We are on the same wavelength! I almost put in my post that I thought the forbidden rice dish could be made with red or black quinoa! I can’t wait to try these.

Quinoa with Beets and Sweet Potatoes
Adapted from Martha Stewart Living

1 cup dry quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1 leek, white and light green parts only, halved lengthwise, rinsed thoroughly, and sliced thinly
1 sweet potato
2-3 beets with greens, greens rinsed thoroughly and chopped
1 tbsp orange zest
3 sprigs thyme, leaves removed and chopped

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Peel and chop sweet potato into 1/2″ chunks and toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/4 tsp salt. Spread on 1/2 of a rimmed baking sheet lined with tin foil. Peel and chop beets into 1/2 chunks, toss with 1/2 tbsp olive oil and 1/8 tsp salt and spread on other half baking sheet. Roast for about 30 minutes, until tender, stirring halfway through, taking care not to mix beets and potatoes.

Meanwhile, heat remaining 2 tbsp oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Sauté leeks and thyme for about 2 minutes, until they have softened. Add beet greens and sauté until wilted. Turn off heat and set aside until quinoa and veggies are done. Toss quinoa, roasted veggies, and leek mixture together in a large bowl with orange zest. Add salt and pepper if needed.

Quinoa with Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts

1 cup dry quinoa
3 tbsp olive oil
1/2 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 oz. shredded Brussels sprouts
1/2 small butternut squash, peeled and cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 medium Yukon gold potatoes, cut into 1/2″ pieces
2 tbsp chopped fresh oregano

Cook quinoa according to package directions.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Toss potatoes and squash with 1 tbsp olive oil and 1/2 tsp salt and place on baking sheet lined with foil. Roast for about 25-30 minutes, until tender, stirring about halfway through.

Meanwhile, heat remaining oil in large skillet over medium heat. Sauté onion for about 3 minutes, until softened. Add garlic and sauté about 30 seconds, until fragrant. Increase heat to medium-high and add Brussels sprouts. Sauté for about 2-3 minutes. You may want to add a little more oil to the pan by pushing the veggies to the side and adding it (I found the pan got a bit dry and added another tablespoon). Stir in oregano. Turn off heat. Combine quinoa with roasted veggies and Brussels sprouts mixture in a large bowl and mix thoroughly.


Forbidden Rice with Brussels Sprouts, Squash and Pecans

Aunt Suzy says . . .

When I saw this recipe, I knew I had to make it – after all, I had the exact amount of Forbidden Black Rice sitting in my cupboard from a whirl with a so-so recipe this summer.  Even though I didn’t like the previous dish, I was introduced to the unusual floral flavor and wonderful mouth appeal of this new-to-me rice variety.  This blend of favorite ingredients and flavors looked like a can’t-miss.  In addition to the squash and pecans, I added another seasonal favorite, good old Brussels.  It only occurred to me after making it, that it’s perfect for Halloween with it’s black and orange color scheme.  Whether you make this as part of a Halloween spread or for dinner as a side to roast something (we served with roast chicken), I know you’ll enjoy.


1 small butternut squash, peeled and cubed (about 2 cups)

1 pound small Brussels sprouts, bottoms removed and cut in half (about 3 cups)

Olive oil for roasting

2 tablespoons butter or olive oil or a combo

2 shallots, peeled and minced

1 1/2 cups forbidden black rice

2 1/2 cups water

Zest of 1 orange

1 heaping tablespoon fresh thyme leaves (or 2 teaspoons dried)

1 cup pecan halves, toasted and chopped

Salt and Pepper


Roast the vegetables:

Preheat the oven to 425F. Line a baking sheet with foil and drizzle with olive oil. Place the squash cubes on the foil and toss to coat with the oil. Roast for 15 min, stir and roast for another 5-10 min.  Remove from oven and turn out onto a platter.  Do the same for the Brussels sprouts, but roast for 10 min, stir and roast for another 5-10 min.  Turn out onto a platter.


Cook the rice:

Rinse the rice thoroughly in a mesh sieve and set aside to drain. Set a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the butter and/or olive oil and heat till bubbling or shimmering if using oil.  Add the shallot and saute for 2 minutes. Add the rice, stir and saute for another 2-3 minutes, until fragrant. Add the water and 1 teaspoon salt,.  Bring to a boil, stir, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 30-40 minutes until water is completely absorbed.  Let stand for 10 minutes, then fluff with a fork.

Assemble the dish:

In a large bowl, combine the cooked rice, the roasted vegetables, the orange zest and thyme.  Stir to combine.  Add the pecans and stir again until just combined. Salt and pepper to taste. Serve warm.

NOTES ON INGREDIENTS:  The original recipe did not call for the Brussels sprouts, so if these aren’t a favorite for you, they can be omitted. Black rice is available in both bulk and packaged at our local co-op, so if you have a co-op or health food store locally you can check there. I highly recommend seeking it out. It’s available online directly from Lotus Foods. Short grain brown rice or one of the black or rice blends from Lundberg could be a good substitute.

Portuguese Fish Stew

February 1, 2012

Aunt Suzy says . . .

We’re going to focus on soups for February this year here at S&SK.  Typically February is definitely soup weather in these Northern climes, but it’s been very mild.  Nonetheless, it just seems like the right time for soups, stews and chilis, and I thought this fish stew would be a great place to start.  It has many layers of bright flavors and is easy to make.  Randy found this a few years ago in an old cookbook of mine, The Natural Health Cook Book, and it was an immediate hit!  We try to make it at least once a winter.  Serve with a baguette and a French or Italian white that’s on the richer side, with no oak.

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 medium onions, diced

4-5 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon fennel seeds, ground in a mortar and pestle or spice grinder

Pinch of ground cloves

1/4 teaspoon saffron threads, dissolved in 2 tablespoons boiling water

1 28-ounce can diced tomatoes, drained (liquid reserved for another use)

1 small butternut squash, cut in chunks

4-5 medium potatoes, yellow or gold, cut in chunks

1 bay leaf

2 3-inch strips orange peel (orange part only, no pith)

2 cups water

1 1/2 pounds codfish fillet, cut in 1-inch chunks

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

salt and pepper to taste

Coat the bottom of a Dutch oven with the olive oil and heat on a medium burner.  Add the onions, garlic and salt, stirring until coated with the oil.  Cover the pot tightly and “sweat” the onions over medium low heat for 30 minutes.  Stir occasionally to make sure they don’t burn.  When done, add the ground fennel and the cloves and cook one minute.  Add the saffron, tomatoes, potatoes, squash, bay leaf, orange peel and water.  Bring to a boil, then turn down heat and simmer, covered, until the vegetables are soft (about 20 minutes).  Add the fish and cook until opaque, about 5 minutes.  Season with the lemon juice, salt and pepper.

COOK’S NOTES:  For the squash, I prefer roasting it first and then cutting in chunks.  This takes more time, but results in a creamier texture and chunks that hold their shape better.  See here for the method.  Sweating the onions and garlic is designed to make them softer.  Make sure you add the salt and watch carefully!  Mine burned a little, but this did not diminish the deliciousness of the soup. I think you could saute instead of sweat if pressed for time. You can create the base for the soup a day ahead and reheat before adding the fish.

Aunt Suzy says . . .

Thank goodness it’s gotten back to normal fall weather!  The first 11 days of October were 80 degrees up here in the northern climes of Minnesota – unheard of!  At first I loved how warm it was, but after a few days I starting yearning for the cool, crisp air of fall.  Since our temps are more autumn-like now, I thought it was time for a pot of chili.  I’m always looking for unusual recipes for chili so this one caught my eye.  Chili purists may argue with this approach, but this recipe is really tasty.  Randy says that it needs to become part of our regular rotation, if for no other reason than it makes the house smell fabulous!  We served it with Harvey Cornbread – a must around here with a bowl of chili, no matter what kind it is.  A dark beer or glass of Zinfandel (that isn’t too high in alcohol) taste great with this dish.

November 2012 update:  We served this over brown rice and loved it.  I think we might serve this way from now on!

Margaux says…

This was definitely a hit in my house, too!  I always love anything with butternut squash in it, and my husband and sister-in-law both liked it as well, especially because of how spicy it is.  The only downside to making things on the spicy side around here is that I have to come up with something different for my son to eat…he used to like spicy foods, but everything now has to be served mild and at room temperature for his sensitive toddler tongue!

The only different thing I’ll do next time is just go ahead and throw a fourth sausage in (they come 4 to a package, and it would have been just as good with the extra sausage in it).  Otherwise, it was great!

Makes 6-8 servings, more if you serve over rice

1 small butternut squash

Canola Oil – for roasting the squash and for sauteing the sausage

3 soft chorizo sausages, split lengthwise then sliced in 1/4-inch half moons (I used AmyLu’s chicken chorizo available at Whole Foods)

1 large yellow onion, diced

3 garlic cloves, minced

1 poblano pepper, membranes and seeds removed, cut in ½-inch pieces

1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced

2 teaspoons ground cumin

2-3 teaspoons chili powder

1 teaspoon ground coriander

28-ounce can diced or crushed tomatoes (I used Fire Roasted)

2-3 cups chicken stock (depending on how “brothy” you want the chili)

2 tablespoons tomato paste

1 tablespoon sriracha, plus extra for serving

1 bay leaf

1 large can of black beans, drained and rinsed (2 cups)

salt and pepper to taste

Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped for serving

Chopped fresh avocado for serving

Prepare the squash: Preheat the oven to 400.  Cut the butternut squash in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds.  Cut in 1/2-3/4-inch slices.  Line a large jelly-roll pan with foil and spread a little canola oil over the surface.  Place the slices of squash on the oiled foil, turning once to coat both sides.  Bake for a total of 15 minutes, turning slices over half-way through.  Remove from oven and place cooked slices on a platter to cool.  When cool, peel and cut into 1/2-inch dice.  Set aside 3 cups of the diced squash. (Set aside any additional squash for another use.)

Make the chili:  Heat 1 tablespoon of the canola oil in a stockpot or dutch oven over medium heat. Add sausage pieces and saute for about 5 minutes.  Remove with a slotted spoon to transfer to a plate lined with a paper towel. Set aside.

Add the onion to the pot and saute for about 3 minutes, stirring frequently.  Add the peppers; saute 3-5 more minutes, until all begin to soften. Add the garlic and stir to blend, cooking an additional minute. Add the dry spices and cook, stirring, for 1 minute.  Add the tomato paste and stir to blend.  Add the tomatoes with their juices, the chicken stock, the reserved cooked sausage, the Sriracha and bay leaf. Simmer for about 15 minutes. Stir in the cubed squash and black beans. Simmer 15 more minutes.  Salt and pepper to taste.  NOTE:  I felt that additional salt was not necessary, given both the sausage and tomatoes added plenty of salt.

Serve in bowls garnished with cilantro, chopped avocado and a drizzle of sriracha.

NOTE:  Like many recipes of this ilk, all quantities are subject to adjustment.  I used more chili powder and more chicken stock than originally called for, as an example.