Roasted broccoli and quinoa salad

Broccoli should count as a comfort food. Contrary to what we might think, comfort food is not required to be/contain/smell like macaroni and cheese, mashed potatoes, soup, meatloaf, or roast beef. Comfort food is simply a food that we attach sentimental value to, often from childhood experiences. Your mom's spaghetti or grandma's chicken pot pie. But broccoli? Don't lie - I know you stood those little trees up on your plate as a child and pretended to be a huge dinosaur, devouring them in a single bite. See? Memories. 

Even if sentimental value hasn't kept you longing for broccoli over the years, it's still a darn tasty veggie to eat. Plus, it comes loaded with vitamin C, vitamin K, folate, and even a bit of calcium. I'd bet my bottom dollar your meatloaf can't do that. And oven-roasted and tossed with some protein-packed quinoa and salty Parmesan? Forget about it, mac n' cheese.

The great thing about this dish (besides the obvious) is that it's incredibly versatile. You can pretty much add what you like. Cannellini beans, goat cheese, sesame seeds... the more the merrier! It makes a great side, or top with grilled chicken or stir-fried tofu to make it a main course.

Roasted Broccoli Quinoa
Adapted from 101 Cookbooks
Serves 4-6

1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups water

5 cups raw broccoli florets
3 cloves garlic
2/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
2 Tbsp lemon juice
1/4 cup really good, fruity olive oil
2 Tbsp milk
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Place the broccoli florets on a baking sheet and drizzle with olive oil to moisten. Bake for 15-20 minutes or until slightly browned. No need to scorch it - just cook it enough to take the raw bite off. 
  3. Meanwhile, heat a bit of olive oil in a saucepan, then add the quinoa. Toast for about 2 minutes. Add the water to the quinoa, bring to a boil, then reduce heat and simmer for about 10 minutes or until the water is absorbed and the quinoa appears fluffy. 
  4. In a food processor, place 2 cups of roasted broccoli, the garlic, 1/2 cup of the almonds, and the lemon juice. Pulse to crush the solid ingredients. Add the olive oil and milk and pulse until smooth. Stir in the Parmesan. 
  5. Place the quinoa, remaining broccoli, and pesto in a serving dish and toss to combine. Top with the remaining almonds and a bit more Parmesan.

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