This breakfast bowl tops strawberries and kiwis with a crunch quinoa topping. (Photo by Curt Norris)
The only thing difficult about quinoa is its pronunciation. Quinoa, KEEN-wah, cooks up fast and easy. Boil it in water or broth; times vary, but recipes generally suggest about 10 to 18 minutes. Then let it rest, covered off heat, 4 minutes for crunchy. Or about 7 to 10 minutes to bring the tasty seeds to a softer state; this longer heating makes the seeds fluffier but still pleasingly chewy.
It’s often referred to as a grain, but it’s the fruit of a broadleaf plant, so it is a seed. Completely gluten-free, these itty-bitty orbs are a good source of non-animal protein, an important component for those on vegetarian and vegan diets.
Nutrient density is great news. Generous amounts of vitamins and minerals are only part of the story; if it doesn’t taste good, I turn the page. Many years ago, Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend made me a believer. This tasty concoction combines red quinoa with Israeli couscous, orzo, and baby garbanzo beans. I loved the crunch the little red seeds brought and started wolfing down quinoa in a wide variety of other dishes. Not just the red-hued beauties, but the white variety and black ones, too, often choosing a tri-colored mix.
The taste is neutral with a smidge of nuttiness, making quinoa appropriate for both sweet and savory dishes. I often cook more than I need for a dish and chill the leftover cooked quinoa in the fridge for up to one week. It is delicious in everything from scrambled eggs and smoothies to burritos and tabbouleh.
Here are three vegetarian dishes that showcase quinoa. There’s nothing bland or boring about these flavor marriages.
Toasted Quinoa, Corn, and Avocado Salad
Cookbook author Marie Simmons taught me the value of pan-toasting quinoa before cooking it off in broth or water. It gives it a welcome nuttiness and irresistible crunch to the seeds. Her main-dish salad is a hearty entrée tossed with a jalapeño-spiked dressing. It showcases the toasting method.
Yield: 4 servings as a main dish or 8 as a side dish
1 1/2 cups white quinoa; see cook’s notes
1 tablespoon olive oil or other vegetable oil
2 teaspoons ground cumin
5 tablespoons mild-flavored olive oil or other vegetable oil
1/2 cup fresh lime juice, plus more to taste
1 tablespoon finely chopped seeded jalapeño chili, plus more to taste
1 garlic clove, grated
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1 cup corn kernels (from about 2 ears or defrosted frozen)
1 cup diced (1/2 inch) firm, ripe Roma tomatoes
1/2 cup thin-sliced (1/4 inch) green onions (white and green parts)
1 ripe avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, diced (1/2 inch)
1/2 cup finely chopped cilantro
Cook’s notes: Most quinoa that is sold in packages has been “pre-rinsed,” which means the off-tasting saponins have been removed and rinsing isn’t necessary. If the quinoa you used is pre-rinsed, start with step 2.
Use caution when working with fresh chilies; upon completion wash hands and work surface thoroughly and do NOT touch eyes or face.
1. If you aren’t sure if quinoa is pre-rinsed (see cook’s notes), rinse it in a fine-mesh strainer under cold running water for at least 45 seconds. Shake the strainer to remove as much water as possible.
2. Heat oil in large skillet. Add quinoa and cook, stirring, over medium heat until it is a light golden brown, about 10 minutes. Add 2 cups water and bring to a boil. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat until the water is absorbed, and the quinoa is translucent, 18 to 20 minutes. Let stand, covered off heat, 10 minutes.
3. To make dressing: Sprinkle cumin in a small skillet and toast over medium-low heat, until fragrant and a shade darker in color, about 3 minutes. Remove from heat. When skillet is cool to the touch, add the oil, lime juice, jalapeno, garlic, and salt. Transfer to a large bowl and whisk to blend.
4. Add the cooled quinoa, corn, tomatoes, and green onions to the dressing and toss to blend. Spoon the salad onto a large platter and sprinkle the avocado and cilantro on top.
Source: “Fresh & Fast Vegetarian” by Marie Simmons (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, $17.95)
Quinoa Bowls with Sweet Potatoes, Black Beans and Yogurt Dressing
These generous quinoa bowls make great luncheon fare, or with a green salad on the side, a dinner meal. Roasting small chunks of oil-coated sweet potatoes, gives the spuds an irresistible taste and texture. I’m such a fan, I often add an additional sweet potato or use two large sweet potatoes.
Yield: 4 servings
1 1/4 cups tri-colored quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1/2-inch pieces, see cook’s notes
1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
One (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed, drained
1 teaspoon soy sauce
1/2 teaspoon hot sauce
1 large avocado, seeded, peeled, diced
1/4 cup roasted and salted pepitas or coarsely chopped roasted and salted pistachios
Yogurt Dressing: 3/4 cup plain yogurt (not Greek-style), 1/4 cup finely chopped cilantro or flat-leaf parsley, 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice, 1 finely grated small garlic clove, kosher salt and pepper to taste
I prefer light-skinned, light-yellow fleshed sweet potatoes in this recipe, but if you prefer, use the red-skinned, orange-fleshed variety.
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium saucepan place quinoa and water. On high heat, bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Keep covered off heat for 10 minutes. Add a little salt and toss.
2. Meanwhile, on a rimmed baking sheet, toss sweet potatoes with oil, coriander, and salt to taste. Bake until tender and browned in some spots (this will primarily be on the bottom portion), about 20 minutes. Remove from oven. Add beans, soy sauce and hot sauce; toss to mix. Taste and adjust seasoning if needed. In separate bowl, combine yogurt dressing ingredients and stir to combine.
3. Spoon quinoa into bowls and top with sweet potato mixture. Top with avocado and either pepitas or pistachios. Top each with a heaping spoonful of yogurt sauce and serve.
Source: Adapted from Valerie Bertinelli, foodnetwork.com
Breakfast Bowls with Toasted Quinoa, Kiwi, and Strawberries
This recipe makes more of the crunchy quinoa topping than is used in the dish. The mixture can be thoroughly cooled and stored airtight up to 1 week in the refrigerator. Use it atop rice, green salads, baked apples, or sliced fruit of choice.
Yield: 6 servings
1 1/4 cups white quinoa
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon agave syrup, divided use
1 tablespoon vegetable or canola oil
1 cup sliced ripe strawberries
2 kiwis, peeled, halved lengthwise, cut into crosswise slices
4 cups plain or vanilla Greek-style yogurt
1. Adjust oven rack to middle position. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Place quinoa on rimmed baking sheet. Pour 1 tablespoon agave syrup and oil on top; mix with rubber spatula or clean hands to combine. Spread the quinoa into a single layer as much as possible. Bake until crisp, stirring occasionally and keeping an eye on it, about 10 to 11 minutes. Remove baking sheet to a cooling rack and cool thoroughly.
3. In medium bowl, toss strawberries and kiwis with the remaining 1 teaspoon agave syrup.
4. Divide yogurt between 6 bowls. Top each with fruit mixture and about 2 tablespoons of crunchy quinoa. Serve.
Source: “50 Best Plants on the Planet” by Cathy Thomas (Chronicle, $29.95)
Cooking question? Contact Cathy Thomas at email@example.com
News Source: https://www.dailybulletin.com/2023/03/13/recipes-here-are-3-dishes-you-can-make-with-quinoa/amp/