Quinoa Toss with Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, and Pecans

It’s Monday, and that means that Josh is at work on his first overnight shift of the week.  On Mondays I am left cooking for one, and usually I fall back on pasta, because it’s easy, quick, and I love it.  Tonight, though, there is (apparently) no pasta in the house as I did not have a chance to get groceries this weekend.  However, I found a forgotten stash of quinoa in the corner of my pantry.  I’ve never had quinoa before but it is all over Foodgawker.  I remember buying a small bag in the bulk section of my favorite grocery with plans to experiment with it.  Well, why not tonight? 

My quinoa dish was mostly inspired by the quinoa salad over at Macheesmo.  I starred this recipe in my RSS feed some time ago and bought a bunch of stuff to make it, but never got around to it.  Thankfully, sweet potatoes, dried cranberries, and pecans don’t go bad very quickly.  I basically made the quinoa with the sweet potato, the cranberries, and the nuts, but left out the dressing in Macheesmo’s original recipe.  I added some salt and pepper and scooped it onto a plate.  I’m not gonna lie, we’re not talking fancy, beautiful food here.  This is some pretty rustic looking eats, but it’s tasty and hearty.  The quinoa has a nice nutty flavor that goes well with the sweet potato.  I really liked the way the cranberries and the pecans played off each other, too.  The flavor blend was great, and the dish is very satisfying.  Also, since there’s nothing terribly savory in it, I plan to reheat the leftovers with milk, some chopped apple, and maybe a drizzle of maple syrup for breakfast tomorrow. 

This is more a method than a recipe.  Really it’s just a matter of mixing stuff into cooked quinoa.  Feel free to swap out your own veggies, fruits, and nuts or seeds.  You can make this as sweet or as savory as you like.

Quinoa Toss with Sweet Potatoes, Cranberries, and Pecans
Inspired by the quinoa salad at Macheesmo
Makes a decent amount

Ingredients:
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
2 cups cold water
1 small sweet potato
Large handful sweetened dried cranberries
Handful chopped pecans (toasted, if desired)
Salt and pepper, to taste

Directions:
Place quinoa and cold water in a saucepan.  Bring to a simmer over medium heat; decrease heat to low and simmer, covered, until quinoa is translucent and tender, about 12 minutes.

Meanwhile, scrub sweet potato and pierce all over with a fork.  Place on a microwaveable plate and microwave until tender but not mushy, about 3-4 minutes.  Let sweet potato cool slightly, then peel off skin.  Slice potato lengthwise into slabs, then chop into cubes.

When quinoa is cooked, stir in sweet potato cubes, cranberries, and pecans.  Season with salt and pepper to taste.  Serve.

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