Looking to eat a little healthier? If this Broccoli Parmesan Quinoa entered a contest for healthy, it would win the grand prize, hands down! It would also be top runner of the delicious category!
What if you could serve a broccoli dish so delicious that everyone at the table would be begging for more?
I know healthy and delicious don’t always go together, but in this case, they’re like peas in a pod! My family happens to like broccoli, but they LOVED this healthy, flavorful quinoa.
I always knew broccoli was good for you (My mama told me that!) but I didn’t realize what a powerhouse of nutrition it was until recently. It’s high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamin C, potassium, B6 and vitamin A. Broccoli also has anti-inflammatory, cholesterol lowering and cancer-preventing properties. And this is pretty amazing – recent studies have shown that this verdant veggie may actually be able to prevent (or reverse) some of the damage to blood vessel linings that can be caused by diabetes. Wow, right? On top of all this, broccoli is also low in sodium and is perfect for low calorie diets; weighing in at only 31 calories per serving!
And then there’s quinoa… known as one of the worlds healthiest grains, quinoa is high in protein and fiber and is sometimes referred to as “the mother grain” since it has more vitamins, nutrients and antioxidants that any other grain.
On it’s own, quinoa has a very mild taste, therefore it’s a wonderfully healthy “blank pallet” that can take on a myriad of flavor profiles like this One Pot Mediterranean Quinoa, this delicious One Pot Mediterranean Quinoa or this One Pot Mediterranean Quinoa. Actually we’ve got a ton of quinoa recipes. You can check them all out here.
In addition to being healthy and delicious, this Broccoli Parmesan Quinoa is easy to put together. A pound of broccoli is steamed in the microwave for 3 minutes. Once it’s cooled a bit, the broccoli gets chopped super fine. Next, a splash of oil is heated in a large sauté pan with minced garlic and red pepper flakes for a minute or two. Add cooked quinoa and lots of finely shredded parmesan cheese and give it all a good stir. You’re done, except for a generous squeeze of fresh lemon juice just before serving.
The first time I made this Broccoli Parmesan Quinoa, I chopped the broccoli by hand. The next time, I decided to something different.
After steaming the broccoli and cooling it a bit, I threw the whole works into the bowl of my KitchenAid Food Processor, a favorite little workhorse in my kitchen.
I pulsed a few times and, voila! That was all it took, the broccoli was perfectly chopped and ready for the next step. Although chopping the broccoli by hand doesn’t take that long, the food processor made this recipe super quick.
If you’re not sure about quinoa, or perhaps you’ve tried it and didn’t care too much for it, check out this tutorial on How to Make Perfect Quinoa . With this technique, the quinoa comes out light and fluffy with the quinoa grains separate, not all lumped together and soggy. There are a few small steps (explained in the post) that make all the difference in the world. I love to make a big pot of quinoa over the weekend and then use it for healthy salads and sides all week long.
Is the warmer weather getting you in the mood for grilling? Need a delicious, healthy side to go along with your chicken, steak, ribs, pork or whatever it is you’re dreaming of? This Broccoli Parmesan Quinoa is it! It would also be great for potlucks, picnics or get-togethers at work. I love that can be made ahead and rewarmed (although it’s also wonderful served at room temperature). And you can easily turn it into a main dish by adding shredded rotisserie chicken or roasted shrimp.
Although in many parts of the world, broccoli is a summer crop, beautiful, fresh broccoli is available year round at most grocery stores. Pick up a pretty bunch next time you’re shopping and make a batch of this delicious quinoa soon. You don’t have to share how healthy it is. You can just smile to yourself when they hand you an empty plate and request “More please!”
P.S. After Scott and I finished the photo shoot for this Broccoli Parmesan Quinoa it was mid-morning and we were hungry. Suddenly (surprise, surprise), I got an idea. I rewarmed the quinoa on two plates and topped each with a sunny side up egg. It was a fun and delicious breakfast… or lunch… whatever you want to call it… it was wonderful!
This is not a sponsored post. I was not compensated by KitchenAid for this post. I just happen to love their products. I was given the KitchenAid food processor last year.
- ½ recipe Perfect Quinoa, cooked in low sodium chicken broth
- 1 pound broccoli crowns
- 2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 2 medium cloves garlic, finely minced
- ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 cup finely grated Parmesan cheese, use good quality, freshly grated Parmesan
- 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- Cut ½-inch off the bottom of the broccoli stalks and discard. Break broccoli into fairly equal sized florets. Place florets in a microwave safe bowl with 1 tablespoon of water. Cover bowl tightly with a lid or plastic wrap. Cook on high power for 2½ to 3½ minutes. Check after 2½ minutes, broccoli should be fairly tender, but not mushy. Remove cover, drain and set aside till cool enough to handle.
- Place drained broccoli on a large cutting board and finely chop OR place broccoli in the bowl of a food processor and pulse just until finely chopped. Don't chop too much or broccoli will liquify.
- Heat 2 tablespoons of olive oil in a large sauté pan over medium low heat. Add garlic and red pepper flakes. Cook for 1-2 minutes until softened and fragrant.
- Add chopped broccoli and 1 teaspoon salt. Sauté for another 2-3 minutes.
- Add quinoa and stir to combine. Add parmesan. Taste and season with more salt, if needed, and freshly ground black pepper. Squeeze lemon juice over the top and stir. Transfer to a serving platter or individual plates or bowls. Garnish with lemon wedges and more parmesan cheese, if desired. Serve warm or at room temperature.