We LOVE quinoa in our house. It cooks fast, is fun to eat, and it’s a complete protein all by itself so it’s very filling. This is a very versatile recipe that takes full advantage of fresh summer produce and pairs well with a variety of different proteins, meat or otherwise. This can easily be made into a vegetarian recipe.
My kids love this dish because they are getting to eat fruit for dinner and I love it because I can throw it in the crockpot and forget about it and it doesn’t heat up my whole kitchen. You can even prepare a bunch of it ahead of time and freeze it to make what I call a dump-n-go meal; dump the frozen raw ingredients into the crock in the morning and cook on low all day. This is especially good for me when I’m teaching 40 lessons a day in the middle of the summer and I don’t have any time for prep work.
Pork Chops and Salsa
- 1 lb boneless pork loin chops (or boneless skinless chicken breast, turkey cutlets, or cubed firm tofu)
- 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, drained
- 2 mangos, chopped
- 2 peaches, chopped
- ½ cup diced red onion
- 1 Tbsp balsamic vinegar
- 1 cup coarsely chopped/torn cilantro
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 1 small can chopped green chiles, drained (optional; this makes it pretty spicy so I of course don't put it in. You know I'm wimpy about spicy)
- 1 ½ cups quinoa, rinsed until water runs clear
- 2 cups broth (chicken or vegetable)
- 1 cup orange juice
- ½ cup chopped onion
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- ½ tsp salt
- ¼ c fresh parsley, minced (or 2 Tbsp dried)
- ¼ cup fresh mint, minced (or 1 Tbsp dried)
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ¼ c chopped walnuts
- 1/3 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
- 1 cup finely chopped carrots or sweet potatoes
- Generous handful of fresh spinach, chopped (optional at end)
- 1 can garbanzo beans, drained and rinsed (optional at end)
TWO: Combine all of the Citrus Quinoa ingredients except the spinach and beans in the crockpot. Lay the foil pouch on top.
THREE: Cover and cook on low 4-6 hours or on high for 2-4. The quinoa is done when most of the water is absorbed and the grains (or actually seeds, did you know that?) have started to uncurl like ribbons. If the quinoa is uncurled and tender but there’s still too much liquid in the pot, vent the lid of the crockpot for the last 15 minutes of cook time with a chop stick or the handle of a wooden spoon.
FOUR: Fluff the quinoa with a fork and add the spinach and garbanzo beans (if using). Replace the lid and cook on high for 20 minutes until the spinach is wilted. Stir to distribute. If the pork chops aren’t fully cooked when the quinoa is done, you can reseal the foil pouch and pop it in the oven at 375 for 10 or 15 minutes.
DUMP-N-GO INSTRUCTIONS: Combine all of the quinoa ingredients and dump into a gallon freezer bag. Assemble the foil pouch of meat and salsa as directed above. Put the sealed pouch in another freezer bag (or you could try freezing it resting on top of the quinoa ingredients. It might require some finesse as your putting it into the freezer. Or you could freeze them separately and then throw the foil packet on top of the quinoa stuff after it’s frozen).
On cooking day, dump the frozen solid quinoa mixture into the crockpot and place the frozen solid foil packet on top. Cover and cook on low 5-7 hours or on high 3-5 hours. Just make sure that when you freeze the quinoa ingredients, you are freezing it into a shape that will fit into your crockpot. Otherwise you’ll have to chisel away the sides to jam it in there… not that I speak from experience or anything ;)
Per Serving (pork chops and salsa) - 212 Calories (67 Calories from Fat) 7g Total Fat, 2g Saturated Fat, 41mg Cholesterol, 173mg Sodium, 20g Carbohydrates, 3g Dietary Fiber, 16g Sugar, 18g Protein, 22% DV Vitamin A, 48% DV Vitamin C, 4% DV Calcium, 6% DV Iron
Per Serving Citrus Quinoa (1/6 of recipe without spinach or beans) - 259 Calories (72 Calories from Fat), 8g Total Fat, 1g Saturated Fat, 0mg Cholesterol, 237mg Sodium, 39g Carbohydrates, 5g Dietary Fiber, 10g Sugar, 8g Protein, 70% DV Vitamin A, 51% DV Vitamin C, 5% DV Calcium, 16% DV Iron