About a decade ago I was a vegetarian high school student who was too lazy to pack her own lunches. What with a steady part time job and an in-school cafeteria I purchased my food everyday instead. That meant I ate one of three things: a vegetarian hot dog, packaged kimchi noodles, or — the healthiest choice – a dish of mexican rice.
I love anything with cooked tomatoes, but mexican rice is a great tex-mex favourite. This recipe is a bit healthier as it is full of vegetables, uses wholesome quinoa, and is not covered in a thick layer of cheese. Of course, you can broil a layer of cheese on top, or omit it entirely for the vegan version. Either way, serve it hot with a bottle of Cholula hot sauce.
Mexican Quinoa(serves 4)
Heat a medium Dutch oven on the stove top to medium heat. Add the olive oil and swirl for 30 seconds. Now add the carrots, celery and onions. Sweat those vegetables together, stirring occasionally for 3 minutes. Add the diced peppers and continue for another 2 minutes. Chop up the green onions, keeping the white parts separate from the green. Add the garlic, the white parts of the green onions, the oregano, paprika and 1/2 teaspoon of salt sweat for one more minute.
Rinse quinoa and then stir into the vegetables. Add water, tomatoes including juices and bay leaf. Turn heat up to high and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 25 minutes. Stir in cheese, remaining green onions and parsley. Cover and continue cooking for another 5 minutes. You can garnish with fresh tomatoes, avocado, and grilled chicken if desired.