This is another example of summertime on a plate! Sweet zucchini and onions are sauteed until tender and slightly caramelized, then cooked quinoa is folded in with a handful of basil leaves. The basil is what makes this dish taste so bright and summery.
Use the finest quality smaller sized zucchini (around 6″ long) and saute quickly on high heat so as not to make the zucchini too soft (although they taste great soft as well). This is a great party dish because it holds beautifully at room temperature.
It’s great with seafood or poultry, and also keeps well as a leftover at room temperature. The basil will discolor, but it will have given up its perfume to the entire dish by then.
Quinoa with Zucchini and Basil
6 small zucchini (6″L), sliced lengthwise in quarters, then crosswise in 1/4″ slices
1 small red onion, diced finely
2 c quinoa
3 c chicken broth
1 bay leaf
1/4 c extra-virgin olive oil
10 basil leaves, sliced into ribbons (at the last moment)
salt and pepper to taste
In a small pot, combine quinoa with cold broth and bay leaf. Bring to boil and simmer approximately 20 minutes. Cover and let stand for about 5 minutes.
In a broad skillet on high heat, saute onions in half the olive oil for a minute, then add zucchini and saute for about 4 minutes, until it begins to caramelize. Taste and add salt and pepper.
When quinoa is cooked, fold into zucchini mixture, along with slivered basil leaves. Gently stir to combine and add remaining olive oil.