Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Quinoa Pilaf with Sweet Potato, Pears, Avocados, and Toasted Sunflower Seeds

I make a lot of quinoa around here.  This is partly because it's so healthy (complete protein!), but also because it's so easy to transport to school for the many meals I eat away from home.  Usually I toss it with sauteed vegetables, or chicken sausage, or both.  But recently, I created a totally new kind of pilaf.  I would never have tried this combination of flavors without my trusty copy of Culinary Artistry, which lists ingredients that are, shall we say, friendly with one another.  It was a bit like playing a matching game, looking up different ingredients to cross-check and make sure that they all (hypothetically) would pair well together.  And they did!  This was delicious, despite sounding a bit strange at first.  I will definitely add it to my repertoire of go-to quick and easy meals.

Quinoa Pilaf with Sweet Potato, Pears, Avocados, and Toasted Sunflower Seeds

1/2 cup quinoa, cooked as directed with chicken or vegetable broth and cooled (should end up being about 1 cup of cooked quinoa)
1/4 cup toasted unsalted sunflower seeds
1 medium sweet potato, baked or microwaved until tender and then chopped/shredded
1/2 avocado, chopped
1 small or 1/2 medium pear, chopped finely
1/2 tsp. sea salt (more or less to your own taste)
1 tbsp. agave nectar
1 tbsp. parsley, shredded finely (optional)
Ground black pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and toss until well-mixed.  Serve immediately.  Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 3 days.

**Hint:  If you are not serving/eating this right away, it is best to add the avocado and pear just before serving so they stay as fresh as possible and don't get brown.  If you're going to have leftovers, add the avocado and pear as you eat it

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