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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Quinoa Polenta with Sautéed Lentils and Portobellos


This dinner was put together one night when looking for a way to use up a package of steamed lentils from Trader Joe’s, a few Portobello mushroom caps, and some quinoa. Yes, I said steamed lentils! It’s a pack of 2 1/2 cups of lentils, vacuum sealed and ready to go. Now, there’s no reason at all why you couldn’t make your own lentils, but I think it would be better if you made them ahead and let them sit in the fridge for a day. Just like you do for fried rice. It lets them separate and firm up, and hold up better to sautéing—so they don’t turn to mush.


The quinoa part of this is done polenta-style, with some fresh grated parmesan, and is from Whole Grains for Busy People, by Lorna Sass. Couldn’t be easier! I’ve made this quite a few times already, even adding an extra bit of half and half at the end for a little more creaminess. Delicious!

Lorna’s book is loaded with great recipes—I have a ton marked to try. And it’s not a vegetarian book, by any means. There’s plenty of meaty recipes in there, but whole grains are included. And they’re all quick, weeknight meals, with grains that cook quickly. But don’t feel the need to limit them to just weeknights!

So get your quinoa polenta going in one pot, and start the lentils in another pan. If you like, you can do the mushrooms in a third pan, but I just transfer the lentils to a bowl when they’re done, then do the portobellos in the same pan. They’re very quick to cook up, so your other stuff isn’t going to get cold.


Don’t look at the three elements and think it’s too complicated, please. Each one is extremely quick and easy, I promise!

Quinoa-Style Polenta
From Whole Grains for Busy People, and slightly changed

1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken broth (or use vegetable broth if you prefer)
1/2 cup grated fresh parmesan
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp of your favorite fresh herbs, minced (or about 1 tsp dried)
salt and fresh cracked black pepper

In a saucepan, bring broth and quinoa to a boil.
Reduce heat to medium, cover and cook about 12-15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed.
Stir in the remaining ingredients and set aside.

Sautéed Lentils

2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup onion, chopped
2 1/2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup chicken broth (or vegetable if you prefer)
2 tbsp of your favorite fresh herbs, minced (or about 2 tsp dried)
fresh cracked black pepper

In a skillet over medium low heat, heat some olive oil, then add the garlic and saute for a few minutes, being
careful not to burn it.
Increase the heat to medium high, and add the onions--cook for a few minutes.
Add the lentils and broth, and simmer for about 5 minutes or so, stirring occasionally.
You want to cook off most of the liquid.
Add the herbs and pepper.
Set aside, or remove from pan--then wipe it clean and slowly heat a little olive oil to get ready for the mushrooms...

Sautéed Portobellos

2 cloves garlic, minced
3-4 large Portobello mushroom caps, stems removed and sliced, gills removed, and rinsed
your favorite herbs
fresh cracked black pepper and a little salt

Slice the mushrooms into pieces about 3/4 inch thick. Use the sliced stems, too, if you like!
Heat a bit of oil in a pan over medium low heat, then add the garlic.
Saute, being careful not to burn it.
Add the mushrooms and cook for about 2 minutes on each side.
Add herbs, salt and pepper.

Layer the quinoa, lentils, then mushrooms in your bowl, and top with extra grated parmesan.quinoa-lentils-portobellos-4

Serves 3 people

My meat-eating husband absolutely loves this one! And see how it serves three people? That means the two of us for dinner, and he gets the leftovers for lunch the next day. That’s how much he loves this dish.


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Maria said...

I love portobellos. We have been grilling them lately. They are so tasty! I will have to try this dish. Looks fantastic!

*Just Fran* said...

Now, I REALLY want to find quinoa! That looks great. Even my meat adoring Hubby wouldn't be disappointed by that dish.

Anonymous said...

This looks amazing I cant wait to try it.I am always on the look out for a meatless dish my hubby will eat!

Jersey Girl Cooks said...

Love portebellos and I love the lentils from Trader Joe's. I also buy the beluga lentils too.

Joy said...

Love all the ingredients and now is the perfect week to make this. I always seem to equate lentils with rainy days. I just need to get some.

Elle said...

Thanks, you guys! :)

vanillasugarblog said...

wonderful flavor I bet. My hubby loves lentils, his parents used to eat them right outta the can. How gross eh? They look better this way

Sharon said...

I've definitely been on a quinoa kick but haven't ever made anything like this. It looks like a hearty and very healthy meal!

catherine @ said...

Good to know about your husband. This is a perfect, perfect dinner for me...and I think he'd go crazy looking for the meat. What is it about men and meat--it's just not a meal unless there's meat. I'm trying this one....

elly said...

I love every layer of this! I am a huge quinoa fan and this looks great.

grace said...

this is a twist on quinoa i haven't seen, and i like it! you've made quite a hearty and elegant dish here, elle. :)

kat said...

So many people are talking about quinoa these days I really need to try it

Bill Ritchotte said...

This is such a great way to eat. I love mushrooms like that. Mmm!

Michelle said...

I've had quinoa for a while now but have not used it yet.

Your dish looks fabulous and perfect for a rainy Norther IL day.

Kat's Kitchen Place said...

This dish looks wonderful. I came across quinoa a few years ago via my cousin who made a quinoa salad (which reminds me I need to make and post about!). This mixture with lentils and the mushrooms has my mouth watering. There is also another brand of premade lentils from TJ's that I use. I will check my cupboard and let you know. Thanks for the great recipe!

Anonymous said...

Lovely! I love coming up w/creative ways to use up leftovers--this looks like a winner:)

Angela said...

That looks amazing. Thanks for sharing. I'm allergic to dairy, but I think that recipe could still be made without the dairy. I'll guess I'll just have to try it and find out. Thanks.

Penny said...

Elle, Found your site while surfing. I agree with your stance on the blogger guidelines - not necessary. Love your blog and will return often.

Emily said...

Wow Elle! The mushrooms look like strips of chicken or something. This could fool any carnivore. I love quick dishes like this. You don't know how many times I've started to buy TJs lentils. Thanks for the nudge.

Annie said...

I just recently tried the TJ's lentils and loved them; so convenient!
What a great idea with the polenta-style quinoa!

kitchenbelle said...

Yum, yum, and YUM! What a great combination of foods. I am love love loving portobellos lately. Great work!

Elsee said...

Salivating over the picture. Can't wait to try it.

The Peanut Butter Boy said...

Great presentation Elle, looks delicious.

Heidi Leon Monges said...

lentils, quinoa and portobellos? Three of my favorite food items ever.

This is already bookmarked as my favorites.


test it comm said...

That looks so good! It has so many of my favorite ingredients in it. Great presentation!

MrOrph said...

We have been experimenting with quinoa for almost a year now and we love it. This is a well made, healthy dish.

Jennifer said...

This looks great. We go to Trader Joe's wheever we can and I have also blogged about some their products that I have used. You may also know that we are all about coking heealthy so come on by again:

Maris said...

Sauteed lentils sound really good - I've only ever had them in soup and I love it, but maybe it's time to branch out!

Mrs Ergül said...

That's a great tip for keeping the lentils in the fridge overnight! I have never tried sauteeing them!

Janet @Gourmet Traveller 88 said...

This is so healthy and yummy at the same time. I am trying to eat less meat & more veg & fish. I have to try your recipe for sure.

RJ Flamingo said...

I said I would do it, and I did! This was dinner tonight and I've got to say it was *delicious*! I don't have the problem of a "meat-eater" husband. Mine is omnivorous and has no problem eating vegetarian several days a week, and he was pretty excited about finally having quinoa (we've only talked about trying it for years!), and he loves mushrooms.

I used vegetable broth, fresh thyme as my herb, and instead of slicing large portabello caps, I used 8 oz. of sliced baby portabellos. So cute! Next time, I might try it with basil or cilantro or maybe even sage. Ooo, *sage*. The final verdict? "Nice find, dear. You can make this again." The highest praise given.

Well done, Elle!

Anonymous said...

Looks yummo. One tidbit about quinoa that I learned and am passing on to you--there is a coating on it that imparts a bitter taste to the grains, it is wise to rinse the quinoa (in a fine mesh strainer) before cooking.

Elle said...

Thank you! I was actually just reading about that. I read that the quinoa we get is cleaned in a new way that gets rid of that coating. I guess it needs more looking in to, though.

Anonymous said...

I tried this recipe and it was delicious! I used thyme and rosemary. This recipe is definitely a keeper - thanks!

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