Lately we've been on a quest to explore different grains. This week's new option was quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), and it was absolutely delicious! Native to South America and the Incas, quinoa is packed with nutrients, and is an excellent source of protein. Perfect for a vegetarian meal! I found a recipe in the new Southern Living Cookbook for a quinoa-vegetable pilaf, and with a crusty loaf of bread alongside, it was perfect spring fare. I highly recommend it! I've typed up the recipe below, including the couple of changes I made as I went. I rarely leave a recipe unchanged!
1 cup uncooked quinoa (**IMPORTANT: Rinse the quinoa thoroughly under cold water until the water runs clear before cooking. It has a very bitter outer coating that apparently tastes awful!)
1-3/4 cups chicken broth
1 Tbsp. olive oil
2 medium leeks, chopped (See photo below for my substitution. Scallions would probably work fine, but if you haven't ever tried leeks, you really should! Such delicate onion flavor.)
1/2 cup chopped red bell pepper
1/2 cup chopped yellow bell pepper
3/4 cup finely chopped carrot
1/2 cup finely chopped celery
2 cloves minced garlic
1/3 cup freshly grated Parmesan
salt & pepper
1/4 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
Combine rinsed and drained quinoa and the broth in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and liquid is absorbed.
Meanwhile, heat oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add leeks (or your particular substitution) and next 4 ingredients. Cook until vegetables are tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in garlic; cook 1 minute. (**The recipe doesn't call for it, but at this point, I added a splash - probably 1/4 cup - of white wine and simmered for a couple of minutes until it was thick and bubbly.) Combine vegetable mixture and quinoa. Stir in cheese, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with parsley.
Aren't these onions gorgeous? I found them at the farmers' market last week. I used them in lieu of the leeks the recipe called for.
I think Jack was a fan!
Topped with freshly grated Parmesan - perfect!