Sunday, February 15, 2009

My Favorite Recipe

I love quinoa. This ancient Latin American grain (pronounced keen-wah) is an utterly delicious complete protein. If you add a few other things, it's like the perfect meal eaten warm or cool, by itself or as a side dish. I usually make this on the weekend and eat it all week as a snack or for lunch.

2 cups quinoa
3 radishes, diced
1/3 can chickpeas (or if you use dried chickpeas, around 1/3 cup reconstituted chickpeas)
1/3-1/2 green pepper, diced
1/2 cup toasted walnut pieces
1/4 cup feta, diced/crumbled
1/3 lb cubed tofu, sauted
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
2-3 green onions, minced
Juice from 1/2 a lemon
1/4 cup currants
2-4 Tbs. olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste

Toast the quinoa at medium heat in a pan with about 1/4 cup water, making sure all the quinoa is moistened -- there should be no excess water. Stir frequently until quinoa browns (do not burn) and pops like popcorn. I think this has something to do with a natural pesticide coating the quinoa has, but all I really know is that toasting it before cooking it makes it nuttier tasting.

Then add 3 1/2 to 4 cups of water and after it boils, turn the pot down to simmer with a lid on for 10-20 minutes. (My stove is wonky, so I can't be precise about this.) Keep an eye on it to make sure all the water evaporates and the quinoa gets softish but not all mushy. It's a fine line sometimes. The quinoa should be fluffy.

Then add some olive oil and salt and pepper while it cools, stirring a bit to release some of the heat. When it's cooled off some, add all the veggies and other stuff. Between the quinoa, feta, walnuts, and chickpeas, it's a mega-proteiny dish. I usually eat it on a bed of chopped romaine lettuce, sometimes topped with a black bean-jalapeno dip. But any way you eat it, it will simultaneously fill you up and gives you tons of energy (no after-meal nap required).

You can vary the ingredients and their amounts however you want -- I just happen to like a lot of different flavors in my meals. For example, you can try subbing parsley for the cilantro or chopped figs for the currants. (I try to have one sweet thing in my quinoa to offset all the savory flavors.)

This dish will keep for up to a week, although the chickpeas and feta shorten its lifespan by a few days.


sharpierae said...

ooh. i shall try this.

i do this cold-weather quinoa dish with great success:

sharpierae said...

yeah, that link didn't work at all. here's the rest of it

Mindy Wisdahl said...

Thanks for posting this recipe. My mom has been talking about making quinoa and I've really been wanting to try it. I can't wait to test it out. It sounds yummy!

sarah said...

That quinoa soup looks superyum and I will definitely try it.b