You'll soon realize that I put eggs on just about everything. They're an excellent source of protein, and I never tire of them. With the price of meat being astronomically high (especially grass-fed, pastured, organic meat), I probably only buy and cook it at home about three times a week. Eggs are an easy and affordable substitute.
I'm not sure how I feel about this dish overall. We were low on food but too lazy to buy groceries, so I made do as best I could. Usually that plan works out quite well, though I do get the occasional dud. With a couple easy adjustments, however, I think this recipe can be turned into a winner. For one, I'd use white quinoa, which is what I typically buy. I noticed that the red quinoa at our market was about a dollar cheaper per pound in the bulk aisle, so I thought I'd give it a shot. We don't eat a ton of quinoa, and this was my first time preparing the red variety. In flavor, I thought it was excellent, but the texture killed it. Don't misunderstand me; I appreciate the natural bite that quinoa has to it, and in no way do I want it to be mushy, but this straight up felt like I was chomping down on thousands of tiny rubber bands. Maybe I did something wrong? I assumed that the cooking method would be the same, and from the Googling I've done, that does seem to be the case. Or, maybe I just bought shitty red quinoa and that was the reason for its low price point .
The second mistake I made was adding too much tapenade. Tapenade, which is basically a combination of olives, herbs, garlic, anchovies (which I don't always use), and olive oil, is, as you can imagine, a condiment that packs a lot of punch. It's not the kind of thing you can just make a little of, so it's easiest to make a large batch, use what you need, and store the rest in the fridge. I got a little too ambitious when I added my tapenade to my quinoa, and probably put in double what I really should have. What resulted was a pot of terribly salty quinoa, so terribly salty tiny rubber bands. Had I enjoyed the red quinoa on its own, I would have saved it by quickly cooking and adding another batch to even out the flavor, but it simply wasn't worth it to me at that point.
The recipe I have below was written with these revisions in mind. Also note, Joe claims he liked the tiny red rubber bands, so it may just be a personal issue.
Tapenade Quinoa Bowl with a Fried Egg
1/2 c. of dry white quinoa (or red, if you like that sort of thing)
1 c. of cauliflower florets
3 medium carrots, chopped into sticks
1 tbsp. of tapenade (recipe below)
salt + pepper
1 1/2 c. of pitted mixed olives
1 small clove of garlic
2 stems of fresh oregano, leaves removed and stems discarded
1 tbsp. of fresh lemon juice
2 tbsp. of olive oil
Traditionally, tapenade is ground into a smooth paste which can easily be done by throwing all of the above ingredients into a food processor. I do also like a coarser-style tapenade, so I am happy to just throw the first three ingredients onto a butcher block and roughly chop away. Once I'm satisfied with the texture (see photo above), I toss my mixture with the lemon juice and olive oil. Tapenade will keep in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a week, especially if topped with extra olive oil.
Toss the cauliflower and carrots with some olive oil and salt and pepper. Roast at 400º until they turn to a deep golden hue, roughly 15-20 minutes. Meanwhile, cook your quinoa according to the directions on the package. Once the quinoa is done, toss in the tapenade while it is still hot to fully incorporate the flavors. Divide your quinoa and veggies into two bowls, and top each with a fried or over easy egg.