For the longest time I characterized the one-pot meal right up there with the Loch Ness monster—likely a figment of my imagination, but wouldn't it be kind of cool if it did really exist? Most of the recipes I found that claimed to be one-pot called for a sauté step in one pan and a simmer in another, with everything ending up in the same casserole pan by the end of the night. Delicious, possibly, but a true one-pot meal? Not so much.
Then along came Martha Stewart's one-pan pasta last summer and all of a sudden everything changed. Not only was the one-pot meal a real, tangible thing, but it could also be made in 30 minutes flat, including prep time. Whoa.
The more one-pot pastas I made (and there were many), the more I got to thinking: Why should pasta have all the one-pot fun? Other grains most certainly deserved their chance in the easy weeknight-meal spotlight.
This one-skillet curried quinoa was my first venture into the world of pasta-less one-pot meals, and it most certainly will not be my last. The beauty of this dish is that not only does it come together in one pot, but it makes use of all the bags of frozen veggies you stocked your freezer with ages ago and then promptly forgot about. (#winning!)
First, an onion and a few aromatic spices are sautéed together to enhance their flavor and texture. Then quinoa, coconut milk and water are added into the skillet and simmered together so the quinoa can fluff up and absorb all of that great curry flavor. Finally, frozen veggies are added to the pot during the last few minutes of cooking to allow them to thaw and soften. Add in a dash of lemon juice for a hint of tang, give the whole pot a big stir, and all of a sudden dinner is served without having to dirty every pan in the kitchen. A much-welcomed weeknight rarity, if ever there was one.
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium red onion diced
- 1 teaspoon curry powder
- 1 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 teaspoon ground turmeric
- ½ teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 14-ounce can light coconut milk
- 1 cup water
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed well
- 1 teaspoon salt plus more to taste
- 1 pound frozen butternut squash
- 1 pound frozen mixed peppers
- 1 14-ounce can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
- 1 tablespoon lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
- Add the olive oil to a large pot over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and saute until translucent and tender, 3-4 minutes.
- Stir in the curry powder, ginger, turmeric, and cardamom. Sauté for 30 seconds, until fragrant, stirring constantly. Add the coconut milk, water, quinoa, and 1 teaspoon salt, scraping the bottom of the pot to remove any stuck bits. Bring to a boil and then lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes, then stir in the frozen vegetables and chickpeas. Return the lid to the pot and cook for 5-15 minutes more, or until the quinoa is tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
- After the quinoa is done, turn off the heat and let sit, covered, until the vegetables and chickpeas are warmed through, 5-6 minutes. Stir in the lemon juice. Taste and add additional salt if desired. Garnish with parsley and serve.