Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Southwest Quinoa

Maple syrup is not a luxury at our house. It's a necessity. It was the only thing on the list when I walked into the health food store but not the only thing that came home with me. I can't leave the health food store without walking every aisle to see what's new. At check out, the clerk asked if I'd like their magazine. At first I said no. I'm trying to limit my "stuff". But then I read, Pasta: gluten-free alternatives  on the cover and changed my mind. I was rewarded with 2 vegan recipes hidden deep in the magazine, after the articles on Vitamin D; Dogs help autistic children; Acau: the real story; Sleep and the coupons.

Next week I'll try the Spaghetti Squash with Cilantro Pesto Sauce recipe, (tease). This week I had everything on hand to make the Southwest Style Quinoa recipe. At 12:45 I got started, well aware of a 2:30 coffee date. I had plenty of time to assemble ingredients, prepare the meal, take pictures, eat and wash the dishes. I was interrupted three times during this process. What I'm saying is, that you have time to prepare this protein packed meal.  

Southwest Style Quinoa
3 generous servings

1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup vegetable broth
8 oz beans (red kidney, pinto, black)
8 oz salsa (heat to your taste) *
1/8 cup chives, optional
(I didn't have chives, so that's chopped onion in the little white dish)
1/4 cup chopped cilantro
1/4 cup toasted sunflower seeds or pepitas

*You control the heat in this dish with the salsa you choose. 

1. In a medium saucepan, dry toast the sunflower seeds or the pepitas over medium heat, stirring constantly, being careful not to burn them. Transfer to a bowl to cool.

2. In the same medium saucepan, dry toast the quinoa for 3 minutes over medium heat.  Add broth, increase heat to high and bring to a boil. Stir, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes or until quinoa is tender and nearly all the liquid is absorbed.

3. When quinoa is tender, add beans, salsa, chives and cilantro, stirring gently to combine well.  Cover and cook for 1-3 minutes to heat through. Fold in the seeds and serve. 

That's it. I made a green salad, poured a glass of Merlot and enjoyed a nice lunch. I'm putting this recipe in my dinner party folder. It's a keeper.

A note about quinoa if it's new to you - quinoa is a seed. It's the highest in protein of the cereal-type foods.  It's a high fiber, complete protein. The Incas called it the mother of grains.

Quinoa seeds are naturally coated with saporin.  Saporin may discourage foragers in the wild but is not harmful, it just has a bit of a bitter taste. Toasting the quinoa seeds removes that flavor. You can also wash this coating off, but the seeds are so small you will have to double line the strainer with cheese cloth.

The end result is a lot prettier than I expected it to be.

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