Quinoa, Goat Cheese, and Swiss Chard--a Healthy, FAST Dinner

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If I had to choose just one food to eat just one food to eat for the rest of my life, it would, without question, be white rice with soy sauce.  Chalk it up to being born in the Philippines (Air Force kid) and eating like a native for the first two years of my life--it set a lot of my taste preferences.  But as an adult, I've tried to incorporate more whole grains.  I tried for years to like brown rice, and while I don't dislike it, I've never come close to actually enjoying it.  But quinoa--once I discovered quinoa, my white-rice-loving taste buds and my health-conscious mind found something they could agree on.  YUM.  

A while ago, I'd pinned this recipe for a one pot quinoa, kale, and goat cheese dish.  When a big, beautiful  bunch of rainbow Swiss chard appeared in our CSA box, I knew I wanted to improvise on that recipe and make a fast, easy, healthy weeknight dinner.

I'm a texture person, and the idea of doing it all in one pot like the original recipe didn't feel right to me.  Besides, I'm a lazy cook, and I LOVE the fact that quinoa cooks up perfectly in the rice cooker.  So I set my trusty little cheapo rice cooker (I've been using it for 17 years now!  Holy cow.  I shouldn't have counted.) to make a batch of quinoa for me.  You can't beat the ease of throwing the quinoa and water in a pot and pushing a button.

In the meantime, I stripped the Swiss chard leaves off the stalks, and chopped roughly.  You can eat the stalks, too, but they take longer to cook, so for this ultra-fast recipe, I only used the leaves.  I sauteed the chard with a little olive oil and fresh garlic.  Toward the end, I squeezed some fresh lemon juice over the chard, about one tablespoon.  

As soon as the rice cooker finished making the quinoa, I dumped it into the pan with the sauteed chard.  I added a good chunk of goat cheese, about four ounces, and mixed quickly with the hot quinoa and greens, so that it was incorporated smoothly, coating each grain and leaf with a hint of tangy, cheesy goodness.  

Start to finish, this only took 20 minutes to make.  It's fabulous fresh, and it's just as good as leftovers.  And I'm very picky about leftovers.  I must be the only person around who doesn't like leftover pizza.  Told ya--texture is seriously important to me.  And, while this is a fabulous meatless dish, if you're feeling the need for a little meat, I can tell you that it also tastes amazing with a strip of bacon crumbled in.  

Do you have a favorite meatless dish?  Please share!  I'm always looking for new recipes to try.  But nothing with beans.  I can't stand the grainy little buggers. 

Nicole Wills, creator of Tikkido