Sunday, January 10, 2010

Nurture Your Family and Slow Cooker Quinoa with Broccoli, Swiss Chard and Leeks

For the last six months I have been volunteering with an amazing organization, Nurture, that "combines philanthropic giving with hands-on teaching, providing limited-resource parents with tools to help them stretch their food dollars in a meaningful and healthy way".

We are working with families from a local food pantry, elementary school students in after school programs, teenage mothers, etc. The list is growing and I am proud to be a member of this incredible organization. Please check out the website for program information, volunteer opportunities, recipes, the Nurture store, and our donation section, where you can purchase cooking tools for the participants of our programs.

Most recently, I tested a two quinoa recipes for Nurture, including the Black Bean Quinoa Salad I posted Friday, and a slow cooker recipe with quinoa, broccoli, and greens. I loved both recipes and am thrilled to have been introduced to quinoa! After it's cooked, quinoa takes on a similar shape to couscous, but has more depth in texture and flavor, making it perfect for salads and the slow cooker recipe below. Most grocery stores carry quinoa, but Costco sells a 4 lb bag of Organic quinoa for $6.00. I have been cooking with that bag for weeks and still have plenty to use.

1 bunch swiss chard
8 ounces frozen broccoli
1 medium leek (white and tender green parts)
1 3/4 cup low sodium chicken broth
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
2 tablespoons brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes
1 teaspoon ginger powder
1 cup dried shitake mushrooms(optional)
1 1/3 cups quinoa

Trim ends of swiss chard stems, slice thinly then coarsley chop(should equal 6 cups). Cut leeks thinly, crosswise, and swish in a bowl of cold water to remove grit. Place chard, leeks, broccoli, chicken broth, vegetable oil, brown sugar, red pepper flakes, ginger powder, mushrooms(optional), and quinoa in slow cooker and cook for 2 hours on high, or 3 1/2 hours on low, until vegetables are crisp tender and quinoa is soft and fluffy, not mushy.
**Substitute vegetable oil with sesame oil and drizzle more sesame oil on top right before serving if desired**

Trader Joe's Southern Green Mix is perfect for this dish!! It is a combination of Collards, Turnips, Spinach and something else, but is pre-chopped and sells for less than $3.00/bag. The first time I made this, my husband told me that he wanted to eat it everyday. I wouldn't say that he is a whole grain, greens lover, so this was a huge compliment!


  1. Thanks. I've been looking for quinoa recipes recently. Quinoa is a great gluten free grain!

  2. Hey Liz!! Love your blog! I love to cook, but am not very good at it, so I just recently decided to start following recipes instead of making up my own concoctions- maybe that has something to do with it? Anyway-I'll definitely be adding you to my list of resources.

  3. just made it and it is delicious! thanks for all your expert cooking/blogging skills!
    leah (i had to post as anonymous)

  4. I looked in my fridge, then googled "leeks, chard, quinoa, mushrooms" and arrived at your wonderful recipe. Thanks for the great dinner idea.