Friday, February 20, 2009

Cooking with Quinoa

The Super Grain Quinoa has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value. It's high protein content, 12%–18%, and balanced set of essential amino acids make it a complete source of protein. Quinoa is also a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. If you haven’t tried cooking with quinoa before, don’t worry, it’s not hard and this recipe is worth it. This recipe comes from the Cooking and Hospitality Institute of Chicago, it was so tasty, I had to share it with you. Enjoy!

Quinoa Salad topped with Chimichurri Dressing and Orange Radish Salad
Serves 6

Chimichurri Dressing
2 tablespoons cilantro leaves
2 tablespoons parsley leaves
1 garlic clove
1/4 jalapeno pepper, seeded (leave some seeds in if you like it hot)
2 tablespoons white vinegar
5-6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
to taste Kosher salt

Mix all solid ingredients with vinegar in a blender and blend until smooth. Slowly drizzle in oil while continuing to blend. Add salt to taste. If dressing is too thick, add a small ice cube to thin the sauce.

Quinoa Salad
½ cup quinoa, rinsed several minutes
½ cup water
½ cup chicken stock (use vegetable stock to make this vegetarian)
½ scallion, cut on an angle
½ small tomato, peeled, seeded and cut in small pieces (you can easily remove the skin by making a cut on the bottom of the tomato in the shape of a cross and putting it in boiling water for a minute or so, place the tomato in ice water to stop the cooking – this procedure is called blanching and shocking)
¼ cup roasted red pepper, diced
1 ½ tablespoons roasted pumpkin seeds

Add water and stock to sauce pan and bring to a boil. Add quinoa and cook until tender, you will see a small white line through quinoa that will tell you it is done. Toss lightly with dressing, and spread out and let cool. Once cooled, toss with remaining ingredients and dressing.

Orange Radish Salsa - this is a great accompaniment to the quinoa, the orange adds a nice touch of sweet to the spice in the quinoa.
1/2 orange, cut in segments, skin removed
1 radish, cut into small strips, about 1/16"
1/2 tablespoon parsley leaves, whole
1/2 tablespoon cilantro leaves, whole
juice from remaining orange
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
to taste Kosher salt
to taste black pepper

Mix ingredients together and plate next to quinoa.

Next blog: Lisa Visits With Peanut Free Planet

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