Here are the ingredients you will need:
- 1 small yellow onion, diced
- 1 garlic clove, smashed
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes
- 1/4 pound kale, washed, stalk removed, and chopped.
- 1/4 cup pine nuts
- 1/4 cup currants
- 1 tsp fresh lemon zest
- 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup tomato juice or liquid from a can of diced tomatoes
Quinoa is a an ancient Inca grain (technically a pseudocereal) that is packed with protein, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. It's a seed that shares a common ancestor with leafy green vegetables like swiss chard and spinach. When fully cooked quinoa is light and fluffy, soft with a crunchy texture, and has a nice nutty flavor.
Bring the quinoa, water, and tomato juice to a boil in a medium pot with a pinch of salt. Once boiling cover and reduce to low heat and simmer for 20 minutes. The quinoa will absorb the liquid, becoming fluffy. I know my quinoa is fully cooked when the spiral outer husk starts to separate from the seed.
As the quinoa is cooking you can start the kale. Heat a large saute pan on medium with the olive oil. Add the diced onion, garlic, red pepper flakes, a pinch of salt, and some pepper and cook until the onion starts becoming translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the kale and continue cooking until it wilts and turns a dark green, another 3-4 minutes. Add the pine nuts, currants, and balsamic vinegar and cook for an additional 1-2 minutes, until the vinegar has reduced to a syrup. Add the lemon zest and season to taste with salt.
You can eat the kale this way as a side veggie, or you can mix the sauteed kale into the quinoa to make a tasty, healthy complete meal. I was shocked at how good this turned out - the lemon zest and balsamic vinegar brighten the dish, the currants give a nice sweetness, and the pine nuts bring some richness.