Bacon Quinoa with Herbs and Almonds

Makes 4 servings

1 pound asparagus, trimmed
1 teaspoon extra-virgin olive oil
4 slices of bacon, chopped
1 small shallot, minced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups low-sodium chicken stock
1 sage sprig
1 tablespoon minced chives
1 tablespoon chopped parsley
1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped
1/3 cup slivered almonds, toasted
1 teaspoon lemon zest

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a baking sheet with foil and spread the asparagus evenly over the pan. Toss the asparagus with the oil and season with salt and pepper. Roast the asparagus for 10 minutes until browned and the tips are slightly crispy. Let cool for about 5 minutes. Cut the asparagus into 1-inch pieces. Set aside.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook until crispy. Remove the bacon from the pan and drain on a paper towel. Reserve 1 tablespoon of the fat in the pan.

Add the shallot and garlic to the pan and cook for 1 minute until the garlic is fragrant and the shallot has softened. Add the quinoa, chicken stock and sage to the pan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer over low heat. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until the stock is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through. Remove the pan from the heat and let the quinoa sit, covered, for 5 minutes.

Discard the sage and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Stir in the chives, parsley, almonds, asparagus, sun dried tomatoes, bacon, and lemon zest. Season with salt and pepper and serve warm or at room temperature with a poached egg if desired.