Thursday, March 24, 2011

Conquering Quinoa

Quinoa has been on my radar for quite some time now. I think I first read about it in St. Louis' "Sauce Magazine." Recently, I've seen it popping up in blogs and magazines. It was about time I conquered quinoa. Actually, I sat this one two out and let John handle the cooking. Working weekends has been exhausting and I needed a few minutes to chill while he prepped dinner. And yes, he's a darn good cook.

I'm not sure why we waited so long to try quinoa. It's super tasty, packed with protein and other nutrients, and reasonably priced. I think John said a pound from the bulk aisle at Whole Foods was about $3. And he didn't use anywhere close to a pound for either recipe. This might sounds strange, but the texture reminds me of a combination between couscous and fish roe served on sushi.

We first tried this recipe, but I didn't take any pictures. Fortunately, John made a different quinoa recipe a week later and this time I took pictures. We served jerk seasoned shrimp on the side. So here you go!

Quinoa with Lemon, Herbs, and Pine Nuts
Adapted from the Chicago Tribune

1 cup quinoa (we used a combination of regular and red)
2 cups chicken broth or water
1 tablespoon olive oil
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 pinch red pepper flakes
3 to 4 cups fresh spinach or kale (1 bunch), chopped
2 lemons (about 1/2 cup lemon juice)
1/2 cup fresh mint leaves or 1/3 cup fresh dill, chopped (We used 3 T dried mint leaves)
1/4 cup toasted pine nuts
Sea salt to taste

Pour quinoa into a strainer and rinse.

In a medium pot, bring broth to boil. Stir in quinoa. Cover and reduce heat to low, simmering about 15 minutes, until quinoa expands and absorbs all liquid. Fluff with a fork.

In a large skillet, heat oil over medium heat. Add garlic and saute, stirring, until it softens, about 5 minutes. Add pepper flakes and chopped greens, stirring until greens are just wilted, 3 to 5 minutes.

Reduce heat to medium. Add quinoa and stir gently to combine. Grate in the zest of both lemons (if using whole lemons), squeeze in juice and add chopped or dried herbs and roasted pine nutes. Stir in sea salt to taste.

May be served hot or at room temperature. Makes 4 to 6 servings.
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  1. Looks delicious! I recently tried a quinoa recipe for the first time and was pleasantly surprised, too! We are definitely going to be eating more of it!

  2. Loosk delicious! I don't normally venture out of my comfort zone when it comes to food, but this has definitely got my attention. I think the garlic, olive oil and lime juice did it for me :) I love that combo!

  3. I just tried quinoa this weekend and was pleasantly surprised! I'll have to give this one a try because I love pine nuts.


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