Saturday, April 12, 2014

Fun with quinoa!!

Like the food-storage mom, I'm interested in cooking with dried beans and grains because it's healthy and economical.  I don't do it as often as I'd like (mostly because the people in my family don't like anything more complicated than plain pasta), but every now and then I like to try it.

As soon as I read that quinoa has a high protein content and can be grown in arid land, I immediately wanted to try to add more quinoa to my diet.  I'm not actually vegetarian, but I think that it's important to try to eat as little meat as possible, for environmental reasons.  It appears that quinoa is a pretty Earth-friendly food to switch to!

Pretty much all of the recipes I've seen for quinoa are variants of a tabbouleh-style salad, so I went out and bought a quinoa cookbook, in hopes of finding a bit more variety.  After reading through it, however, I was no more inspired than before -- and I kind of came to the conclusion that maybe making it into a salad is the classic quinoa dish for a reason.

In my version, I cooked the quinoa according to the standard instructions on the package, and I also included some kidney beans and chick-peas that I had prepared (soaked overnight and then cooked at a low boil for an hour, then strained).

After putting these three ingredients together, you can kind of just throw in whatever other ingredients you like in this sort of salad.  In my case I added a packet of feta cheese (cubed), 1/2 cucumber (diced), chopped pitted olives, and some fresh herbs (parsley, dill, mint).  I also sautéd some chopped onion with pine nuts and pumpkin seeds, and added them as well.  Then I added oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper to taste.

I found that quinoa also works as an additional ingredient in my usual sort-of-minestrone soup recipe.  That recipe is one to remember if you're actually living off your food storage because it doesn't require any fresh ingredients (though I usually use fresh green onions).

In addition to the beans and chick-peas (soaked overnight), put about 100 grams of quinoa in 2 liters of broth, and cook them for about an hour with some peeled, chopped tomatoes (I used canned), and some chopped onions and herbs.

I would like to maybe try some more adventurous recipes with dried beans and/or quinoa, but these basic recipes are some good basics to start with.


knotty said...

We had quinoa the other day. I generally like it, though the kind Bill got was a little bitter. It was try-colored, though, and very pretty.

Heather said...

I love quinoa! It does lend itself well to salads, but you can use in stir-fry to instead of rice. This pineapple cashew quinoa stir-fry is a favorite at our house.

Allan said...

In Bolivia we used to eat it a lot in soup.