First off – I’m all about a quinoa salad. It’s super-easy to make, the quinoa gets your protein in, and you can throw in whatever veggies you’ve got on hand and call it dinner.
But because that’s all been said and done in my kitchen, I chose to go a different route with this week’s quinoa inspiration à la The Food Matters Project. Perfect timing because I’ve been craving stuffed zucchini in a major way.
You could take this basic idea and go a number of ways, but since I had some chorizo on hand, I went with that. Chorizo adds crazy flavor to the whole mix, since you’re cooking the vegetables in the fat that renders from it. You could stick with all veggies if you prefer – remember, the quinoa makes it a complete meal for you – or you could… who can guess where I’m going with this… use bacon!
I don’t use the seeds here because I’m not crazy about the texture, but you could definitely use the guts of the zucchini in your stuffing if you like. As for the cheese on top, queso fresco or a good melting cheese is your friend. If you’re thinking Monterey Jack… the answer is yes!
- ½ cup quinoa
- 4 large zucchini
- Extra-virgin olive oil
- Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper
- ½ pound fresh Mexican chorizo (removed from casings if in links)
- 1 medium yellow onion, diced
- 1 red bell pepper, diced
- 1 jalapeño pepper, seeded and finely chopped
- 1 heaping tablespoon minced garlic
- Splash white wine vinegar
- ¼ cup chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley
- 1½ cups grated queso fresco
- Rinse quinoa and transfer to a saucepan along with 1 cup water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, turn the heat down to a simmer and cover; cook 15 minutes or until tender. Remove pan from heat and allow to sit for 10 minutes or so, covered.
- Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F with a baking sheet inside. Cut zucchini in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds/guts using a spoon. Lightly brush or spray the insides with olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast, cut side down, for 12 minutes, or until zucchini is just tender and lightly browned on the bottom.
- Heat chorizo in a skillet over medium heat, breaking the meat up with a wooden spoon. When it releases a good amount of fat, add the onion, bell pepper, and jalapeño. Season with salt and pepper and cook until vegetables are soft and chorizo is browned, about 5 to 7 minutes – adding garlic during last minute of cooking time. Remove from heat and add vinegar, herbs, ½ cup of the cheese, and the quinoa. Taste and adjust seasoning.
- Preheat the broiler. Stuff quinoa mixture into zucchini boats and broil for 5 minutes, until cheese is melted and golden brown. (I like for the zucchini to hold a bit of crunch, but you can choose to roast it at 400 degrees for 10 minutes along with a couple minutes under the broiler if you prefer it softer.)