Meatless Mondays: Sweet Potato and Raw Broccoli Quinoa

How to get the raw bite of spring a bit ahead of time.

(Photo: Ian Knauer)

Feb 23, 2014· 1 MIN READ
Ian Knauer is a regular contributor to TakePart. He has worked for Gourmet and is the author of the IACP Award–nominated cookbook The Farm.

Why meatless on Mondays? Not only is eating less animal protein a healthy diet choice, but curbing your meat consumption can have a significant environmental impact too. In 2006 the U.N. Food and Agriculture Organization reported that animal agriculture accounted for a full 19 percent of greenhouse gases—more than the transportation sector. Best of all, with recipes like these, going meatless can be a delicious weekly habit.

We are getting to the time of year when I start to get really tired of root vegetables. I just can’t wait for spring. I curse that godforsaken groundhog and his stupid shadow. And the weather hasn’t helped one bit. Cabin fever and never-ending snow have only added to the seasonal affective disorder that seems to set in every late winter. I ache for asparagus and watercress. The only solace comes in the form of satisfying meals. In anticipation of better, warmer days I’ve started a gentle introduction of raw vegetables into my still wintry dishes.

Here broccoli brings a much needed raw crunch to one of my favorite winter meals, sautéed sweet potatoes, caramelized onions, and protein-rich quinoa. Have fun with this when you cook it at home: Chop up some raw kale or kohlrabi instead of the broccoli, or swap out the last of the butternut squash for the potato. Enjoy that chlorophyllic sensation, and keep dreaming of spring.

Sweet Potato and Raw Broccoli Quinoa

Serves 4

1 cup quinoa

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

1 medium onion, sliced

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed

1 small head broccoli, chopped

2 teaspoons apple-cider vinegar

Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Whisk in the quinoa and boil until tender and puffed, 15 to 18 minutes. Drain the quinoa and transfer to a large bowl.

Heat the oil in a large heavy skillet over medium-high heat until hot; then stir in the onion and sweet potato along with 3/4 teaspoon salt and 1/2 teaspoon pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is browned and the sweet potato is golden and tender, 10 to 12 minutes. Transfer to the bowl with the quinoa. Stir the broccoli and vinegar into the quinoa mixture and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.