Fluffy quinoa with dock leaves – one easy weekday meal ready under 30 minutes. Substitutions and quinoa tips included.
This fluffy quinoa recipe was born out of necessity. One, I had extra sorrel leaves (dock leaves) on hand, and two- I was short on time & energy. Who knew helping toddler adjust to preschool can be so time consuming (& tiring).
It was early morning; mild breeze was diffusing the air with sweet aroma from the near-by blossomed trees. Hand in hand, me and D., we headed to the subway station and hopped onto the 1st train. A few blocks from home, we got off and waived the train goodbye. As I carried D. up the subway stairs, he was curiously scanning the surroundings for cranes and diggers (one of many favorite books: Where Do Diggers Sleep at Night?)
One step after another, we found ourselves at the front door of the kindergarten (or ‘kid’s house’ as he calls it). For the first few minutes he was just looking around with his little fingers tightly clung around my neck. The next few hours he spent in joyous (and loud) play, showing me all ‘new’ toys and checking every 5 seconds if I’m still there. When he had lunch with the other kids, we waived them good-bye and headed home for his afternoon nap. I quickly laid him down and he drifted off in a second. One brave little boy. I quickly estimated he would sleep for at least 2 hours, so I headed into the kitchen.
Here I was, (surprisingly) exhausted, standing in front of the fridge ready to have lunch. My mind drifted off and I found myself gazing at a cheese for 10 seconds (or more) with an empty head. When I got back from ‘space’, I grabbed one portion of last day’s Creamy nettle soup. Yum, yum! I felt the energy run through my veins and started checking off tasks from my to-do-list. Turned out I had planned way too many things for that day. My brain was telling me I need to cook something simple for dinner (horray fluffy quinoa with mushrooms and duck leaves) and spent the afternoon snuggling and playing with D.
If your toddler is adjusting to preschool/ kindergarten – have a look below. There are some ideas that might be useful to you too.
- Communication: when toddlers know where they are going and how the day will unfold, they are less likely to get stressed. We started with explaining what kids do in preschool, who the teachers are and what the daily routine looks like.
- Extra snuggles and love: when we get home in the evening. Before doing anything else, we laugh, snuggle and talk about anything and everything. That way D. knows although I’m gone to work for the day, I’ll always be there for him and will love him no matter what.
- Favorite toy: Bringing a favorite toy to school gives extra feeling of safety and security. Not all is new and unknown. For us it’s been one little miracle monkey.
- Preparation: The tiniest groundwork from the night before makes all the difference – it could be laying your clothes or simply pouring water in your kid’s bottle for the next day.
I never intended this post to be so long, so I’ll stop here, although I feel like I’ve got a zillion things to share. If you are into baby things though, I recommend checking out my post on Items that make our life as parents easier. Off to recipe!
The secret to a fluffy and tasty quinoa is the water-quinoa ratio and the cooking process. Make sure to have 1:2 ratio (e.g. 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water). Bring to a boil and reduce heat to gentle simmer until water evaporates while keeping lid on. There are a few types of quinoa on the market – white quinoa (organic on amazon), red quinoa and black quinoa. I prefer using a mixture of quinoa as it gives more color to the meal + cooking times and taste are basically the same to me.
If you are short on dock leaves (some call is sorrel), you can easily substitute with spinach. You’ll miss out on docks plant specific flavor, but your meal would be equally tasty and nutritious.
DOCK LEAVES: If you ask yourself what the heck are dock leaves – short answer is dock (sorrel) leaves are a weed that initially grew in Europe. Now it’s to be found all over the world. If you want to know more I recommend looking into this article from the Spruce eats – it really says everything you need to know. We usually get our dock leaves at the farmers market on weekends. It’s one of first green goodies that grow in early spring, along with nettle.
MORE DELICIOUS IDEAS:
If the quinoa meals come a bit ‘dry’ as my husband calls it, you can change it up by pairing this recipe with our favorite Baked Zucchini Yogurt Dip or a fresh spring salad. We also like adding some fresh lemon juice upon serving.
Up for something else? A great quick and light meal we often make when time and energy are shortcoming is this Black rice garlic shrimp recipe. I mean, who doesn’t like black rice – it’s nutty in flavor, gentle on the gut and super simple to make!
Fluffy Quinoa with Mushrooms and docks leaves
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water, more if needed
- 1 bouillon cube, preferably organic
Mushrooms and dock leaves
- 1 bunch cleaned dock leaves, or spinach
- 3 cups (250g) white mushrooms
- ½ cups spring onions, chopped
- 1 galic clove, minced
- 3 tbsp olive oil
- Shredded cheese of choice, totally optional
- In large cooking pan with lid (preferably non-stick) place water, quinoa and bouillon cube and bring to a boil on stove top.
- Then reduce heat to a minimum and simmer until quinoa has absorbed water. Remove from stove and set aside.
Mushrooms and dock leaves
- Rinse dock leaves, spring onions and mushrooms* in cold water. Remove dock leave stems and chop green part of the leaves in small pieces. Then also chop spring onions and slice mushrooms ( I usually remove stems).
- In a non-stick pan add olive oil, minced garlic, spring onions and mushrooms and sauté on medium heat until tender. Add a little bit of water if needed to prevent veggies from burning.
- When cooked, remove from stove top and mix with quinoa. Serve warm and garnish with shredded cheese of choice if desired or some freshly squeezed lemon juice upon serving.