Quinoa is not only high in protein, but also a complete protein that includes all nine essential amino acids. The pomegranate arils are a powerhouse source of antioxidants, fibre, and vitamins C and K.

1 Tbsp (15 mL) extra-virgin olive oil, divided
1 small onion, diced
1/3 cup (80 mL) quinoa
2/3 cup (160 mL) vegetable stock
2 Tbsp (30 mL) dried apricots, diced
3 Tbsp (45 mL) pomegranate seeds*
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh mint, chopped
1 Tbsp (15 mL) fresh cilantro, chopped
2 Tbsp (30 mL) fresh parsley, chopped
1 green onion, trimmed and finely sliced
Pinch ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp (2 mL) lemon zest, finely grated
Pinch salt
Freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Heat 1 tsp (5 mL) olive oil in medium-sized saucepan over medium heat. Add onion and sauté, stirring frequently, until golden brown, about 10 minutes. Stir in quinoa and vegetable stock and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to a simmer, and cook for 10 minutes.

Turn the heat off, keeping saucepan covered and on burner, allowing the residual heat to continue cooking quinoa until all liquid has been absorbed, about 4 minutes. If there is still a little bit of water that has not been absorbed, leave saucepan covered on burner for another 3 to 5 minutes.

Meanwhile, in small bowl, pour enough hot tap water over apricots to just cover them. Soak for 5 minutes, then drain.

Remove quinoa from burner and stir in remaining 2 tsp (10 mL) olive oil, apricots, pomegranate seeds, mint, cilantro, parsley, green onion, cinnamon, lemon zest, salt, and black pepper. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Serves 2.

Each serving contains: 199 calories; 5 g protein; 9 g total fat (1 g sat. fat, 0 g trans fat); 26 g carbohydrates; 4 g fibre; 76 mg sodium

How to seed a pomegranate

  1. Cut pomegranate in half.
  2. Place halves, cut side down, in a large bowl of water and soak for 5 minutes.
  3. Hold pomegranate half under water, break apart, separating arils (or seeds) from membrane.  arils will sink while the rind and membrane will float.
  4. Skim off rind and membrane and discard.
  5. Strain arils through a colander, drain, and pat dry.

source: "Be Mine, Vegetarian Valentine", alive #352, February 2012

About the Author

Lawren Moneta is a chef, food stylist, and recipe developer who can’t wait to see what her Valentine is cooking up this year. foodbylmcm.com