I am a big fan of quinoa. It’s a gluten-free seed that has the versatility of a grain, but with more protein and it cooks very quickly…try it in this one-pot dish and I think you’ll become a fan, too.

Quinoa With Asparagus and Mushrooms

Ingredients:

*1 tablespoon olive oil
*1/2 onion, chopped
*2 stalks celery, chopped
*1 Portobello mushroom, or 1/2-1 cup other mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
*1 cup quinoa, rinsed in cold water and drained (use a fine mesh strainer for this, as quinoa seeds are pretty small)
(1 1/4 cup water
*1 small bunch of asparagus, cleaned and chopped
*1 cup chopped additional vegetables, such as broccoli or dark leafy greens--optional
*Himalayan or sea salt and black pepper to taste

Directions:

1. Heat olive oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and saute for a minute or two, until it is golden and translucent. Add celery and mushrooms and cook for a minute or two longer, stirring to ensure the veggies do not burn.

2. Add the quinoa and the water, bring to a boil, and then reduce the heat so that everything can simmer for about 15 minutes. Cover the pan during this time.

3. Toward the end of the 15 minutes, add the asparagus and the other vegetables, and cover again. After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and allow everything to sit for 5 minutes. Remove the cover and check to see that all the water is gone and everything is cooked (if not, leave the cover off and simmer for a few more minutes). Season with salt and pepper.

You can serve this “as is” as a side dish to accompany a healthy fish, chicken or meat dish, or, if you’d like it to be a vegetarian entree, you can try it topped with some organic tomato sauce and fresh parmesan cheese (it’s very yummy this way). You can up the vegetarian protein by adding in an egg or two; you could also mix in some beans or nuts/seeds, as well.