The drive from San Francisco back to LA post-New Year celebrations was not bad; I made good time and there wasn’t much traffic. However, if you’ve ever driven through central California you know that the I-5 is quite possibly the most monotonous drive in the state; it’s flat and barren with the occasional fast food stop, oil rig, cattle lot and the associated Harris Ranch steakhouse. All of which are varying degrees of depressing. The Harris Ranch cattle lots are impossible to miss because the odor will permeate your car miles before they come into sight, but when they do it’s miles of cows standing around on dusty plots of land, no grass in sight. What really makes me want to cry though is the steakhouse down the road, where you can eat the animals you’ve just seen. That’s too close for comfort.
Add that to the string of fast food restaurants along the 5 and you’ve got the reason I don’t make a single stop on my drive; I bring some light snacks to tide me over until I get home.
On a lighter side, I was excited to get home and unload some excellent Christmas acquisitions (the most exciting of which are a wine fridge and a bicycle). Chemical Brothers albums provided a dreamy soundtrack to my drive which compensated for the depressing landscape and by the time I got home I had a second wind and unloaded everything, set up my fridge and started a load of laundry. Not possessing enough energy to then make a huge dinner I opted for something light yet hearty and very simple to prepare.
Roasted Broccolini and Quinoa Salad
I usually make a week’s worth of quinoa over the weekend and keep it in the fridge. However, making quinoa for this recipe is quite simple and can be done while your oven preheats and you prep your veggies.
Also, I used broccolini for this recipe but it can easily be substituted for broccoli.
2 cups cooked quinoa
8-10 broccolini stalks
6 green onions, thinly sliced
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
2 tablespoons garlic aioli (I used Majestic Garlic spread)
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 tablespoons shelled pistachios
pinch of salt
pepper to taste
Preheat oven to 400F degrees. Arrange broccolini on a baking sheet and drizzle with 1/2 tablespoon olive oil and a pinch of salt. Roast for about 15 minutes; after 10 minutes check on the broccolini a few times to make sure they don’t brown too much.
If using pre-prepared quinoa, reheat either covered on the stove for 5-8 minutes or in the microwave for a minute. Mix in the green onions, cilantro, garlic aioli, lemon juice, pistachios and the remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil. Add pepper to taste.
Top with the roasted broccolini and serve.