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I’m guilty of being an imposter. While Matthew was busy creating healthy masterpieces in our kitchen, I was in the other room trying not to imagine what kale tastes like. He represented Fig & Fork by posting recipes while I napped, ate bowls of cereal and cursed Dairy Queen for being painfully close to our house. I could almost see the red sign taunting me from my spot on the couch.

Needless to say, pregnancy has been a learning experience for the both of us. A beautiful, magical, exciting, learning experience. Even though I took a few weeks off of my usual path, I couldn’t help but be amazed at what my body was doing behind the scenes. Just a few months ago I was told it would be difficult, if not impossible, to have children naturally. But surprise, here we are with a baby on the way. I thank Matthew’s cooking and maca powder!

So after a few weeks of avoiding the kitchen and related food smells at all costs, I couldn’t wait to start cooking once I felt better. This quinoa salad was the first thing I made for us. I chose most of the ingredients based off of nutrition I need for pregnancy, but Matthew helped me put a spin on it to make it even more delicious.

Quinoa, peas and lemons are high in folate, a B-vitamin essential for pregnancy. Matthew suggested adding ricotta cheese for a twist, which also provides calcium. Fresh herbs and radishes from the garden were a tasty way to ease back into healthy eating.

Lemon Quinoa with Ricotta and Peas
{gluten-free}

1 cup dried quinoa
1 cup shelled peas (about one pound in the pod)
4 breakfast radishes, thinly sliced
½ cup ricotta cheese (plus a bit extra for garnish)
½ cup torn basil
½ cup chives, roughly chopped
1 lemon, zested and juiced
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt and pepper

To cook quinoa, first rinse and drain. Bring 2 cups of water to a boil and add quinoa and lemon zest (reserve juice). Simmer covered for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool. I like to spread it on a cookie sheet to cool while I’m preparing the remaining ingredients.

Meanwhile, blanch your peas in salted, boiling water. They’ll only take a minute or so and will float when they’re ready. Strain the peas and place them in a bowl of ice water to cool for a few minutes. Then strain again and set aside.

Use a vegetable peeler to thinly shave the radishes. Add the peas, radishes, ricotta, basil, chives, olive oil, lemon juice, a few big pinches of salt and pepper to the quinoa. Stir very well, taste and adjust seasoning.

Garnish with a few dollops of ricotta and serve.

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