Food & Drink Magazine

Quintessential Quinoa

By Yonni @vegandthecity
Quinoa (not qui-no-ah but keen-wa) is a fabulous food!  It tastes like a grain, similar to brown rice but has a little pop when you chew, and is high in amino acids (protein), but it’s actually a seed with cousins like spinach and swiss chard ~ seriously, how cool?  (it’s also gluten-free and kosher for Passover for those of you who might be interested…)  Best of all, it’s got a nice, slightly crunchy texture and subtle nutty flavor on it’s own, but it really picks up the flavors you cook it with, and there are so many ways you can go.   It used to be only available in specialty markets but is now readily available.
One of my favorite recipes for quinoa comes from a Low-fat Cooking Light cookbook I bought a decade or more ago.  I first made it for Thanksgiving, but it could really be made all year ‘round.  The original called for chicken stock, but I made the substitution.
Fruited Quinoa
2 TBSP pine nuts or slivered almonds
1 1/4 c dried apricots
1 1/2 c quinoa
2 tsp olive oil
3 c low-sodium chicken broth (I use vegetable)
2 tsp lemon peel
2 TBSP lemon juice
1 c dried currants
Toast pine nuts in a small frying pan over medium heat until golden brown (3-5 minutes), stirring often.  Transfer nuts to a bowl; set aside.
Coarsley chop 1/2 c apricots and set aside Place quinoa in a fine strainer and rinse thoroughly with water.
Heat oil in a 3-4 quart pan over medium heat.  Add quinoa and cook, stirring often, for 8-10 minutes.
Add the broth to the quina with the lemon peel and juice and bring to a boil over high heat.
Reduce heat and simmer until grain is tender.
Drain and discard any liquid.
Stir chopped apricots and 1/2 c currants into the quinoa.  Let cool and then refrigerate over night.
To serve, season to taste with salt.  Garnish with remaining apricots, currants and pine nuts.
My friend, Lisa, gave me this next recipe over lunch a couple of weeks ago.  One of her friends and recommended it and Lisa has had it numerous times already.  I hope you enjoy!
 Quinoa, Zucchini and Toasted Walnut Pilaf from
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
½ cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1 clove garlic, sliced
2 medium zucchini, grated
1 teaspoon fresh thyme leaves
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
In a medium saucepan, combine the quinoa and water and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender and fluffy, 12 to 15 minutes.
Meanwhile, prepare and measure your ingredients as this next part goes quickly. Heat the oil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Add the walnuts and cook, stirring, until toasted and fragrant, 2 to 3 minutes. Add the garlic and cook until golden, 1 minute. Stir in the zucchini, thyme, salt and pepper (12 turns on pepper mill) and cook, stirring, until just tender and wilted, 1 minute. Remove from heat and stir in the quinoa until well combined.

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