It's been too hot to bake. I'm ready for autumn clouds and rain. But I'm in the kitchen anyway - cooking up something that doesn't require me to turn on the oven :-)
Quinoa (pronounced 'keen-wah') - another of nature's super foods! It's a gluten-free grain that is high in protein and fiber, full of nutrients, and easy to digest. Where has it been all my life??? I only found out about Quinoa a few years ago. Not much flavor by itself, it can be used in so many ways by adding seasonings and veggies and meat to it. Sometimes I add Chicken, onions, and mushrooms to it with a sprinkle of feta, and it's my main course. But not today.
Today I made my favorite way to eat Quinoa. I made tabouli, replacing the Bulghur with Quinoa. Tabouli is very easy to make - and it's another of those 'to taste' dishes that you can really get creative with. It's also a great way to practice your chopping skills since most of the ingredients are finely chopped. (Think Julia Child in Julie and Julia - the onion scene. Hysterical!!).
I like a lot of tradtional Tabouli flavors - parsley, mint, green onions, lemon, among other things.
But here's the thing about Quinoa - if you buy it in bulk, or if you buy it in a bag or box, and it doesn't say it's been pre-rinsed - you MUST rinse it or soak it. Really well. Quinoa has an outer coating that is bitter, and if you don't get rid of it, your Quinoa will taste bitter. That's just the way it is.
If I have time, I will soak it in a strainer sitting in a bowl of water for about 5 or 10 minutes, replacing the water at least once. But I've also been known to just rinse it in a strainer under running water for a few minutes - and that usually works just fine. Keep in mind that Quinoa is tiny, so your strainer should have find mesh - or you'll see the Quinoa go down the drain :-). Here it is soaking.
You can cook Quinoa in Chicken broth, Vegetable broth, Water, or any combination. It cooks much like Rice (1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of liquid), but much quicker. When I'm cooking it for a cold salad type of dish - I usually put it in a bowl right after it's cooked, fluff it up a bit with a fork, and let it come to room temperature before adding my other ingredients.
Chop chop! A little olive oil and lemon juice, and there you have it. Into the refrigerator to chill.
Big softball game and potluck coming up this Sunday. This may have to be on the menu!
Quinoa Tabouli (Serves 6-8)
- 1 cup Quinoa, rinsed very well
- 2 cups Broth or Water
- 1 cup (approx) Fresh Mint, chopped fine
- 1 cup (approx) Fresh Parsley, chopped fine
- 3-4 Green Onions (approx), chopped
- 1 cup Cucumber (or Celery), chopped
- 1 Tomato, chopped and drained
- Juice of 1 Lemon (approx)
- 3-4 Tbs (approx) Olive Oil (see Option below)
- Salt, to taste
- Option: Instead of the Olive Oil, you can add a Balsamic Vinaigrette
- Bring liquid to a boil and immediately add the rinsed Quinoa. Reduce heat to a low simmer, cover and cook until all liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Move cooked Quinoa to a bowl and let cool.
- Once the Quinoa is cooled to near room temperature, add the chopped ingredients and toss.
- Add Olive Oil,lemon juice, and salt, to taste. Toss well.
This is good eaten at room temperature, or chilled - which also gives the flavors time to blend nicely.
Time for lunch (Quinoa :-)