Antipasto Quinoa Bowls
It seems like a lifetime ago (but was really only five years ago) that Betsy and I took our honeymoon in Italy. We spent two weeks traveling around and focused mainly on eating and drinking to our hearts’ content!
While some people focus on the pizza or pasta (or wine) in Italy, I focused on antipasto. It was my favorite part of each meal. Small plates of cured meats and veggies and cheeses that you could snack on. They were found in almost every restaurant and I ordered them every chance I got!
It’s harder to find a good antipasto plate in the States, but it’s not so hard to find the pieces to make your own.
While it’s obviously supposed to be served as an appetizer, I like this stuff so much that I’ll occasionally just pile the goods into a bowl of perfectly fluffy quinoa and call it a meal.
In truth, these antipasto quinoa bowls are a lazy man’s meal, but they are a really flavorful and good one!
1) Cook quinoa according to instructions. Usually this means simmering in water until tender (usually 15-20 minutes). Then drain, cover, and let steam off the heat for a few minutes and fluff with a fork.
2) After quinoa is cooked, stir together with sun-dried tomatoes and red wine vinegar. Season with a pinch of salt.
3) Divide quinoa between bowls and pile in cured meats, artichokes, mozzarella bowls, roasted red peppers, kalamata olives (check for pitts), and fresh basil.
4) Drizzle bowls with good olive oil and serve immediately.
Antipasto Quinoa Bowls
For my money, these are the things that need to be involved in an antipasto situation:
- Some sort of cured meat (I used prosciutto and Soppressata).
- Cheese (I used mini fresh marinated mozzarella balls).
- Olives (I like kalamata for their saltiness).
- Pickled veg (Use your imagination here, but I went with artichokes, red peppers, and sun-dried tomatoes).
Cooking the quinoa is really the only “cooking” step for this meal. So don’t screw it up.
Cook your dry quinoa by rinsing it with cold water and then bringing water to simmer in a pot. I recommend a 2-1 ratio of water to quinoa. Once the water is simmering, add in the quinoa and cover it.
Turn heat down to low and let it simmer for about 15 minutes. I like to taste it and make sure the quinoa is tender at that point. Assuming it is, use a mesh strainer to drain off any extra water so the quinoa doesn’t get mushy. Then return it to the pot, cover it, and remove it from the heat.
Let the quinoa steam for a few minutes and then uncover it and fluff it with a fork. It’s great hot or room temperature so you can make it in advance if you want.
The Sun-Dried Tomato Trick
I’m not a huge fan of eating whole sun-dried tomatoes, but I do love the flavor. So rather than serve them on the bowl, I chopped mine up and stirred them into the quinoa with a quick dash of red wine vinegar, salt, and pepper. Go easy on the salt because so many of the things in this bowl are pretty salty.
After that, just make the bowl your own. Try not to have too much of any one ingredient.
I like to add a little fresh basil and a drizzle of good olive oil to the whole thing at the end.
Happy antipasto quinoa bowls and buon appetito!