Monday, June 6, 2011

Quinoa two ways

My goal of no sugar / white flour until our vacation is going pretty well . . . I cheated at the Hollywood Bowl this weekend and ate a macaroon (come on, it's the Hollywood Bowl) and had to research sucanat a bit to find out that I had inadvertently cheated (new post about sucanat coming soon) but so far, so good and 3 days to go!

I've made a few batches of quinoa in the past few weeks and if you're not already eating quinoa like us (my mom's side of the family particularly), it's delicious.  Well, it can be made delicious.  Quinoa itself is nutty, grainy, and very versatile depending on how you prepare it.  It's also way quicker to prepare than brown rice. I have been calling it a grain, but learned that it's "actually a chenopod, related to species like beets and spinach." 

You can read other quinoa recipes here and here.  I was a bit saddened to read this article in the New York times about how Bolivians, who have been eating quinoa for centuries, are becoming unable to afford it because of exportation.  Not trying to make you guilty (and I just bought another box), but I think it's important to be aware of how our consumption in the US affects people globally.

The new recipe below is for a pilaf that's easy and flavorful.  I had lots of leftovers so I just mixed up the leftover with some cucumber and feta cheese to serve with chicken kebobs - doesn't this meal just look like summer??  The day after that, I still had leftovers (now with cucumber and feta in it) so I chopped up the leftover grilled chicken and ate that for lunch.  The dish that keeps on giving!

Quinoa Pilaf with Lemon and Thyme (6 servings)

1 onion, minced
1 tsp. olive oil
salt and pepper
1.5 cups quinoa
3 cups low-sodium broth (chicken or vegetable)
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1 tsp. minced fresh thyme (or 1/4 tsp. dried)
2 tsp. fresh lemon juice
2 T. minced fresh parsley (or basil or cilantro or scallions).

Combine the onion, oil, and 1/4 tsp. salt in a large saucepan.  Saute until onion is soft, about 5-8 minutes.  Stir in the quinoa and cook over medium heat, stirring often, until quinoa is lightly toasted and aromatic, about 5 minutes.  Stir in the broth, zest, salt and pepper and thyme and bring to a simmer.

Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer until the quinoa is transparent and tender (about 10-15 minutes).  Remove the pot from the heat, lay a clean folded kitchen towel across the top of the pot and replace the lid.  Let sit for 10 minutes then fluff the quinoa with a fork.  Stir in the lemon juice and fresh parsley or herbs.  Season with salt and pepper to taste and serve.

What to make with the leftovers:

Greek Quinoa Salad

Stir chopped cucumber, pepper, and feta cheese into cold, leftover quinoa pilaf.  Add a little olive oil if it seems dry and serve.  You can also add chopped cooked chicken, pine nuts, olives, more fresh herbs . . .

1 comment:

  1. Hooray for new ideas to spice up quinoa. Thanks Bec! And lest we feel too guilty in our consumption, a couple of weeks ago the manager and checker at Vons had never heard of quinoa, I had to find it myself and show them what it is! But yes, it is tragic when consumption trends lead to exploitation.