Last autumn a few of the girls and I took a weekend trip to a friend's lake house. Essentially, the overarching themes for the weekend were bonfires, yoga pants, wine, and good food. We may or may not have spent a ridiculously extended amount of time watching proposal videos on YouTube and discussing hashtags. In our defense, we all happen to be right around the age range where engagements, wedding announcements, and all things bridal are ever-present on our news feeds. No defense needed for bonfires, yoga pants, & wine.
For our dinners at night we tried to accommodate everyone - those who were gluten free, vegetarian, or steak/givemeallthegluten-lovers alike. Needless to say, with a house full of talented cooks we had our pick. Homemade pumpkin doughnuts for breakfast, an homemade rendition of Sweetgreen's Chicpea Salad by our host Emily, and fellow blogger Libby Living Colorfully's delicious pink ombre cake. I was delegated dinner duties one night and this is what I whipped up from the produce available at the local IGA. This quinoa bowl is hearty, and works just as perfectly during cooler autumn months as it does during fickle rainy spring days, and has a kick of flavor thanks to the pomegranate and basil vinaigrette. You can use pretty much any seasonal vegetables that you find. It's the perfect weeknight dinner when you don't have much time to spend actually cooking. I hope the conversation you have over your bowls are just as hilarious as ours.
Roasted Fall Veggies and Quinoa with Basil & Pomegranate Vinaigrette
Makes 8 servings
For the bowl, use a mix of seasonal vegetables.
For this bowl I used:
1 Yellow Cauliflower
1 Acorn Squash
3 Large Sweet Potatoes
6 Large Carrots
2 Large Turnips
3 Cups of Uncooked Quinoa
5 Tablespoons of Aged Balsamic Vinegar
1/2 of a Pomegranate
1 Handful of Basil
1 Tablespoon of Dijon Mustard
3 Tablespoons of Extra Virgin Olive Oil
Salt and Pepper to Taste
- Cook quinoa according to directions on package while preheating oven to 400 degrees. Set aside to cool. Tip #1: 1 cup of uncooked quinoa makes 3 cups of cooked quinoa. Make sure you have enough room in your pot!
- Cut vegetables to equal sizes to ensure even cooking. Toss with olive oil, salt and pepper. Roast vegetables on wax paper on a metal baking sheet for best results. Tip #2: We noticed that the vegetables were steaming slightly in the oven. To get a better crisp on them, prop the door to the oven open towards the end of the baking to allow them to brown slightly. I use my all metal whisk to do this, wedging the handle into the oven door.
- Roast vegetables for approximately 30 minutes, turning halfway through, or until crisped and golden on the outside and tender on the inside. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly.
- Julienne your basil and toss into a bowl with 2 tablespoons of the pomegranate seeds. Crush the seeds slightly to release their juice.
- Mix in balsamic, dijon mustard, salt and pepper. Slowly add olive oil while whisking to create an emulsion.
- In your bowl, layer one and a half cups of quinoa, the roasted vegetables and top with vinaigrette. Garnish with extra julienned basil and a sprinkle of pomegranate seeds for crunch and brightness. Serve immediately!
$$$ Breakdown: Buying your veggies from a local farmer and in season means that your costs will be lower. This recipe fed eight hungry, food loving girls and we still had veggies left over for seconds. Buy your quinoa from a bulk store, and you'll get it at a great price. Everything for this recipe was less than $20 dollars, meaning that each serving was LESS THAN $2.50! That might be a record for The BLVD!
Recipe and Photography by Lauren Durden