It’s been a really busy few weeks at work: travel, giving and grading finals, then starting to teach in an intensive 3-week May session. Along the way, I seem to have quit cooking for myself. That’s fine for a little while, but eventually I tire of spending too-much money on food made with ingredients I wouldn’t want to buy to cook with at home. I was exhausted today, but when I picked up my CSA vegetable box I decided to try tossing together a quick, healthy dinner at home.
As I’ve mentioned before, I don’t have a lot of experience with stir-fries but it’s such a quick way to fix dinner (and preserve a lot of the texture and nutrients in my vegetables) that I decided on that. I didn’t have any fresh meat or seafood around the house, so instead of using rice or noodles I used quinoa. It’s one of the most complete vegetarian sources of protein available, and soaked up the stir-fry sauce without having to bother thickening it.
The sauce was really basic: soy sauce, rice vinegar and white wine. Because the sauce is pretty salty, I didn’t salt the other vegetables or the quinoa when I cooked it. I received beautiful rainbow chard in my veggie box so I used that. I also received a bunch of mixed radishes with their greens. I like raw radishes and wondered how they would be cooked. I loved them – mild and sweet: their flavor was completely transformed. I think even those who don’t much care for radishes would like it in the stir-fry. I also had some sugar-snap peas that I used for extra crunch.
I tried toasting mustard seed for the first time. It was fun hearing it popping on the stove, and I tossed it in right before serving. The flavor didn’t stand out but complemented the other ingredients well (and added a little bit of crunch). It’s optional, but I would use it again.
Start the quinoa first, since it will need about 30 minutes to cook:
Combine in a small sauce pan:
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1.25 cups liquid (I used half water and half dry white wine)
Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cook covered for 20-30 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is done. Don’t let it over-cook (or it will become mushy) – drain excess liquid if needed. You’ll know the quinoa is done when a tiny tail appears on the grain.
In the meantime, place in a small nonstick skillet with a tight-fitting lid:
- 1 Tbsp mustard seed (the whole seed, not ground mustard)
Cover and cook, shaking the pan frequently until you hear the seeds popping like popcorn. Remove from heat and keep shaking the pan until the popping stops. Pour into a small bowl and set aside.
In a large nonstick skillet (or wok), heat over medium high heat:
- 1 Tbsp. olive oil (I used garlic infused olive oil)
Heat until shimmering, then add to the pan:
- chopped stems from about 4-ounces rainbow chard (about 3 large leaves)
- 6 radishes (I used an assortment of varieties since that’s what came in my box), cut into planks or chopped
- handful of sugar snap peas or any other vegetables you like
Cook, stirring frequently, for 5-7 minutes until they are starting to get tender. Add to the pan:
- chopped leaves from chard
- chopped leaves from radishes if they came with their greens
Toss, to coat with oil, then add to the pan:
- 2 Tbsp. rice vinegar
- 2 Tbsp. soy sauce or tamari
- 2 Tbsp. dry white wine
Cook, stirring frequently, until greens are wilted and tender. remove from heat.
Serve stir fry over cooked quinoa and top with toasted mustard seeds.