So, summer is just about to end…and I’m still craving some fresh, summery, cold food…along with some healthy grains packed with protein! I wasn’t in the mood for a sandwich with bread on either side…I wanted to make lettuce cups…but I found some large kale stalks in the fridge….EVEN BETTER! I just sliced out the spine of the kale and circle it around and seal in a scoop of the cooked quinoa with an ice cream scoop, then adorn it with sweet, brown sugar, seasoned roasted cherry tomatoes! To cut through the richness of the cheesy quinoa & sweet tomatoes…I grate in some lime zest and give it a squeeze of fresh lime juice! I make it my mission to get every little part of this in one bite. Get in there…get it all…a crimini mushroom, some zest and chopped mint..the chicken stock flavored & seasoned quinoa…the freshness and crunch of the kale…and at least one of those savory…brown sugary tomatoes!!! Oh did I mention the mint….??? Mint grows like gangbusters on my property…and although it gets out of control..it adds the perfect amount of freshness to any summer salad, dish, etc. It’s also fantastic, slightly bruised for a fabulous cocktail or in iced tea! This is the perfect way to end the summer!
Kale Quinoa Colorful Cups
4 large kale stalks
1/2 cup cooked Quinoa
1 cup chicken stock
1/4 cup pecorino romano grated cheese
7 crimini mushrooms (chopped)
1 1/2 cup multi colored tomatoes
2 tbsp brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees for the tomato roasting fun!
Pour the chicken stock, mushrooms and quinoa in a rice cooker and click the button that says “white rice” and let it go for 10 minutes. (If you don’t have a rice cooker….go and get one…don’t wait…it is a leave it and forget it item that will be priceless in your kitchen! But if you can’t get one this second…just make sure you put it in a covered pot and keep checking so it doesn’t burn). Open up, and add the pecorino cheese and cover up for another 10 minutes. The quinoa will turn a lovely golden color due to the chicken stock.
Place the cherry tomatoes in a foil covered, small cookie sheet (I use nonstick foil, so I don’t have to add oil to this recipe). Face the cut side up of the tomatoes. Sprinkle the brown sugar and season with salt and pepper. Roast in the 350 degree oven for 15-20 minutes. Take out of the oven and mix around to make sure all of the seasonings in the pan touch the tomatoes.
Take the kale stalk and cut out the spine. Roll the kale into a cup shape. Place a scoop of the mushroom quinoa in the center. Place the roasted tomatoes on the left and right sides of the cup without overfilling it. Sprinkle a little chopped fresh mint, lime zest and a full squeeze of 1/4 lime for each cup. Lift up the cup and take a bite while getting all of the ingredients in one bite! It’s a perfect, protein packed and satisfying meal.