A perfect side to chicken, lamb, pork or beef: Warm Quinoa with Asparagus and Roasted Peppers. Half salad, half side dish, this recipe incorporates roasted veggies and protein packed quinoa. As well as pantry staples like jarred roasted peppers, olives, sun dried tomatoes, feta and finished with toasted pine nuts and an Easy Lemon Dijon Dressing. On the fence about some of these ingredients? Scroll down for substitutions. This is perfect as a side or as a main dish and this comes together in under 30 minutes. What could be better than that?
This is a super versatile recipe. I made this as a side dish for roasted lamb, but you can certainly make this a main dish by adding your favorite protein on top and add some wilted spinach or kale. Don’t like asparagus? Add cooked green beans. Don’t like Feta cheese? Add some parmesan. Add your favorite dressing or ours; it’s a canvas, customize to your taste!
To make the assembling of this dish easy, I used Florina roasted peppers for my version because it’s what I had on hand, however, the most accessible are Roasted Bell Peppers, like Mezzetta brand or you can roast and use your own.
Let’s make Warm Quinoa with Roasted Asparagus and Peppers
Start with cooking Quinoa to package directions. Quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook and I let it cool a bit before assembling this recipe. While the quinoa is cooking, start on the asparagus. A note about cooking quinoa: I find after trial and error that the best way to cook this grain (it’s actually a seed but it’s commonly referred to as a whole grain) is ensuring that you have a tight fitting pot lid. This helps with the evaporation of the liquid and yields a better texture.
How to Roast Asparagus
First, start by roasting the asparagus in a preheated, 400 degree oven. The taste of roasted versus blanched is vastly different. Asparagus tends to soften in taste when roasted. This is my preferred way of eating asparagus. I roast or grill many of the vegetables we eat here at home, the flavor is just better overall.
Once the quinoa and your asparagus are done, chop your asparagus into large pieces and place in bowl. Add 1-2 cups of cooked quinoa, peppers, sun dried tomatoes, Kalamata olives, onions, and feta. Top with toasted pine nuts and add a couple of tablespoons of dressing, salt and pepper. Toss gently and adjust dressing to your taste. If you don’t have the dressing, you can add extra virgin olive oil and some balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper to taste.
Substitutions for ingredients
Not sure you love some of these ingredients? Here are some ideas for making this side dish your own:
- Blanched green beans can be substituted for Asparagus
- Roasted peppers can be substituted for fresh peppers
- Sun dried tomatoes can be omitted or use fresh cherry tomatoes
- You can use regular olives instead of Kalamata
- Instead of Feta use Parmesan or use sautéed Tofu.
- Add chickpeas
- Add spinach
- Instead of pine nuts use walnuts, almonds or pecans
- Don’t have ingredients for the Easy Lemon Dressing? Try using extra virgin olive oil and some balsamic vinegar, salt and pepper.
- You can use a batch of Balsamic grilled vegetables
Now you are ready to serve this wonderful Warm Quinoa with Roasted Asparagus and Peppers. As mentioned, I served this with Roasted Lamb, but delicious with all meats or as a vegetarian main meal.
Warm Quinoa with Roasted Asparagus and Peppers
- medium bowl
- Rimmed sheet pan
- small pan
- 2 cups quinoa cooked
- 1 bunch asparagus
- 1/2 cup roasted peppers store bought jar
- 1 tbsp sun dried tomatoes in oil
- 1 tbsp kalamata olives chopped
- 1 tbsp pine nuts toasted
- 2 tbsp feta cheese crumbled
- Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
- Place asparagus on rimmed baking sheet
- Add olive oil, salt and pepper
- Roast for 20 minutes. Asparagus should be tender.
- Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Chop into large pieces.
Toast pine nuts
- Place raw pine nuts in a small non stick pan and keep the nuts moving so they don't burn. Toast for about 2-3 minutes. Remove immediately from pan and allow them to cool.
Assembling the dish
- Place, chopped, cooled asparagus in a bowl.
- Add cooked quinoa, pine nuts, onion, roasted peppers, olives, sun dried tomatoes, feta to bowl.
- Add easy lemon dijon dressing or balsamic vinegar and extra virgin olive oil
- Salt and pepper