Goji Berry and Veggie Quinoa

Here’s an easy and delicious side dish that cooks up in no time. Better make a large batch!

Jill Reid | Kitchen Spirit

Recently, I read an article about the healthy benefits of goji berries. After doing a little research, I learned they’re found in the Himalayan Mountains and have been used for centuries by the Chinese, Mongolians, and Tibetans. The berry contains many minerals including zinc, iron, copper, calcium and phosphorus, along with Vitamins A, B, C, E, thiamin, riboflavin, and niacin. The sugars in goji berries are long chain molecules that are a primary source of dietary fiber, making them a complex carbohydrate.

I had to give them a try.

After finding this organic goji berry online, I ordered a bag. When the package arrived, it was perfect timing:  I needed a side dish for dinner. This recipe has turned out to be one of my favorites, and not only because it’s so versatile. Packed with healthy veggies and organic herbs, it’s a tasty and nutritious complement to fish, chicken, pork, and beef. Even better, it’s a meal in itself!

Quinoa cooks up pretty quickly and offers a variety of creative options. Here’s the recipe, based on what I had handy in the fridge.

2-cups organic quinoa
4-cups filtered water
3-4 tabs grass-fed butter
¾ cup broccoli
¾ cup cauliflower
½ cup Goji berries
½ cup Feta cheese

½ cup zucchini
1 – small apple
1 – tbsp chia seed
1 – tsp organic tumeric
1 – tsp organic red chili flakes
1 – tsp organic basil
1 – tsp organic parsley
Coarse black Pepper
Garlic-infused avocado oil

picture of fresh organic zucchini kitchen spirit recipe jill reid healthy food recipes

picture of fresh organic broccoli kitchen spirit recipe jill reid healthy food recipes

Melt the butter in a large pan over medium-high heat. Pour in quinoa and stir a few minutes to toast. Add water, then cover and reduce heat to simmer. Cook quinoa until water is absorbed – about 15 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, you can prepare the veggies. Cut up broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini into small pieces. Peel, slice, and chop the apple. If you have feta in a block, slice and cut into small chunks.

When the quinoa is done, add basil, parsley, pepper, chia, red pepper flakes, turmeric, and stir well. Add the chopped veggies, apple, feta, and goji berries. Drizzle with garlic-infused avocado oil and mix.  Put the cover back on the pan and heat through, stirring occasionally.

Serve immediately, or store in an air-tight container in the fridge. This dish also freezes great. Split into individual portions before freezing and you’ll always have just the right size for any meal.

Double the batch depending on your family size and needs. It keeps well in the freezer using air-tight containers.

Add other veggies like carrots or bell peppers for color and flavor. The extra vitamins and nutrients are always a plus!

Substitute other spices and herbs and mix it up a little, for example, ginger for an Asian-inspired dish or cilantro and cumin for a southwestern flair.

The best way to store your extra quinoa is in glass or non-BPA airtight containers. Avoid plastic bowls containing BPA, which has been found to seep into food or beverages. Exposure to BPA is a concern because of possible health effects as the plastic may break down over time and allow BPA to leach into food. CLICK HERE for more about non-BPA storage options.

Here are a few of my favorite items to use when preparing this recipe. Just click on the photos below for more info, photos, and quick links.