Recently my husband and I made dinner together. It’s great when he has actual food ideas, even herbs and spices. He suggested something with chicken apple sausage, broccoli and cauliflower and Italian spices. He pulled out the breakfast sausage, which I happened to be eager to try. The maple went very well with the other flavors we used, too. It’s wonderful when that happens with my food concoction experiments. I took advantage of this time to use up the last of some of my vegetables that were just waiting to be made into tasty dishes, like carrots, and I felt very fortunate to have come across the asparagus on sale at Oliver’s for two dollars off the regular per pound price.

I decided that since the sausages were pretty small, we needed more protein without using up more sausage. I was thinking of using something like a grain but didn’t want to eat more carbohydrates than those in the vegetables, especially since this was an evening meal. (You’re supposed to eat larger meals and carbs during your most physically active time of the day.) I was dissatisfied with the way the quinoa turned out when I cooked it for dinner at my folks’ house. It was time to try it again, since I overcooked it last time by about three minutes. I also forgot to let it set for five minutes before fluffing it, which is very crucial.

Originally the salmon with aioli and quinoa recipe called for red quinoa, but that’s not what we had on had. I used the white variety instead. Yesterday I went to Community Market and did a little nutrition label reading at the bulk bins. I found out that actually white unsprouted quinoa has a significant amount of more vitamins and minerals in it than the red. On the other hand, red quinoa has more fiber and protein. I wonder if the red part is the seed’s skin…. Anyway, you can also get sprouted white quinoa, which has less iron but more calcium than the regular white variety. I have seen a few organic food companies sell a mixture of red and white quinoa. Maybe that’s why; with mixed you’d get the benefits of both of the unsprouted varieties.

Vegetable Chicken Sausage Medley
1 T Extra Virgin Olive Oil (or enough to coat the pan)
1/3 C Garlic, minced
1 Small Yellow Onion, peeled, chopped
8 oz pkg al fresco Chicken Apple Maple Sausage, sliced into 1/2″ pieces
1/2 tsp Sea Salt
1/2 tsp Mixed Peppercorns, ground
10 Stalks Asparagus, cut into 1″ pieces
1 Head Broccoli, cut into bite-size pieces, stems included
1 Head Cauliflower, cut into bite-size pieces, stems included
2 Carrots, chopped
2 tsp Dried Marjoram Leaves, ground
1 tsp Roast Vegetable & Fries Spice Blend* or make up your own
1/2 Filtered Water

*Salt, onion, paprika, red bell peppers, sugar, mustard, garlic, soy bean, celery seed, black peppercorns, coriander, oregano, cumin, sage

Start the quinoa. Saute the garlic and onion in a large pan on medium-low until the onions are tender and clear. Add the sausage, salt and pepper and cook for about 2 minutes.

Turn the pan down to low. Add the vegetables, remaining seasonings and water. Turn everything in the pan with a large wooden spoon a few times to mix the vegetables, meat and seasonings. Cover and cook for about 8 minutes or until the carrots are tender crisp.

Remove the lid and transfer the meat and veggies to a large mixing bowl. Stir the meat and vegetables to get rid of heat and excess water while the quinoa sits for 5 minutes.

Italian Herb Quinoa
2 1/4 C Filtered Water
1 C White Quinoa, rinsed
1/4 tsp Smoked Alderwood Sea Salt (from Savory Spice Shop)
1 – 1 1/2 T Italian Seasonings

Mix together the quinoa, salt and water in a medium cooking pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to low and cover the pot with a tight fitting lid. Cook the quinoa for about 7 minutes. Mix in the herbs and recover with the lid. Cook another 5 or 6 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat, and place it on a trivet. Do not remove the lid. Let it sit for 5 minutes. Uncover the quinoa, and fluff it with a fork to get rid of excess moisture.

Serve about 1/4 cup of the meat and vegetable mixture over 1/4 cup of the quinoa.