Quinoa is one of my favorites, which is why I have many recipes on this blog using quinoa. It is tasty when prepared right, and is a great alternative to rice or pasta because it is a natural "whole grain" food and considered a complete protein (all 8 essential amino acids). I say "whole grain" because it is not really a grain, but it has all the characteristics. And it has a nutty flavor, while it absorbs flavors from the other things you cook it with. Plus, it only takes about 20 minutes :)
Now, although quinoa is lovely, it is also very easy to get it wrong. So pay close attention as you cook. If you live in South America, quinoa is probably easier to find. In other parts of the world, you'd most likely have to go to health food stores like Whole Foods.
Ingredients (serves about 4)
1 cup of quinoa
1/2 a cup of slivered or sliced almonds
1/2 a cup of dried cranberries
A dash of salt
A lemon wedge
1 bay leaf
2 cups of water
- Start by toasting the almonds in an empty pan over medium heat. Toast them until they are just a little brown and you can smell that roasted nut smell. Yum.
- Add in the quinoa, and toast them together for another 3 minutes or so or until the quinoa also begins to have a slight toasted smell. Do not let it burn!
- Bring the water to a boil, and add in the quinoa and nuts.
- Add in the cranberries, salt, bay leaf, and the lemon wedge.
- Reduce the heat to a low setting, and let it all cook for 15 minutes, adding water as necessary. Once you see the texture start to change, you know it's cooked.
- This is important: After you turn off the heat, let the quinoa sit for about 5 minutes, and then use a fork to fluff it.
- Serve with a sauce or a side. I used chicken breast grilled in mushrooms, peppers, and tomatoes.
Cheers Eights & Weights!