Thai food is my weakness in the winter. I say weakness because when I’m craving it, I always order in from my favorite spot down the street and enjoy an ultra veg night on my couch with a good movie and a glass of wine. This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but after ordering thai food a few too many nights in one week, I decided it was time to take this craving and turn it into something productive- and a bit healthier.
I’ve never cooked thai food but figured that the elements of my favorite dish were pretty simple – I always order in ginger chicken or ginger vegetables with brown rice. So, I settled on swapping the rice for some protein packed red quinoa, mixed in some veggies, and sauteed it all with those classic thai flavors – ginger, garlic, lemongrass and lime. When I was done cooking, I plopped right back down on my couch with a nicer glass of wine than usual and indulged in a delicious and healthy dinner. To my surprise, this hit the spot just the way my favorite thai restaurant does. It was the exact medley of flavors that I was craving and to top it off, I didn’t feel weighed down as I often do after take out. It was a light and nutritious meal that certainly satisfied. Here’s how I made it…
1.5 cups red quinoa
Water (measure based on instructions on package)
Juice of one lime
1-2 tbs grapeseed oil
1/2 stick of lemongrass very thinly sliced
1/2 a small white onion thinly sliced
2 inch piece of ginger thinly sliced
3 cloves of garlic chopped
1 bell pepper chopped into thin slices
1 head of napa cabbage chopped
Salt and pepper to taste
Bring water and quinoa to a boil and add a few squeezes of lime juice and a pinch of salt. Let simmer and cook for 15 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed. While quinoa is cooking, heat lemongrass, ginger, garlic and onions in grapeseed oil over medium-high heat. Continue to saute until all ingredients have softened (note- lemongrass took a while to soften so be sure to slice very thinly. You may want to heat the lemongrass first for a bit longer). Add peppers and cabbage, juice of half a lime and salt and pepper to taste. Mix together, cover and let cook, stirring occasionally. Once quinoa is finished cooking, add to pan with veggies and stir together.