Feb 13, 2008

Quinoa with Apples and Almonds

Quinoa (keen-wah) is another favorite grain. Used for centuries by the Incas, it's loaded with more protein than any other grain, not to mention the amino acids. Technically, it's not a true cereal grain but a fruit. You can read the fascinating info online in various places. This stuff is good for you and tastes great and is as easy to prepare as rice. You do need to rinse it well and some recipes instruct you to rub it between your hands as you are rinsing to remove the bitter, natural coating. I've had no trouble with simply rinsing well in a few changes of cold water. I pulled this recipe out of a Cooking Light magazine and, of course, did some tweaking, but not much this time. Certainly more garlic and more onion than the original recipe and I don't use canned veggie broth - I use veggie boullion cubes. I added a dash of garam masala too. I also added my almonds to the apple while I sauteed it. Finally, I used red quinoa that I buy in bulk at the co-op. It's beautiful. And yes, it's normal and perfectly fine that the quinoa gives off a little tail, almost like it's trying to sprout, after it cooks. Use quinoa as you would any rice or lentil or other grain, as a side or as the main course.

Here's what I used and what I did:

  • 1 cup red quinoa, uncooked
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 large onion, large dice
  • 1 large carrot, finely diced
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 cups vegetable broth made from dissolving a veggie boullion cube in boiling water
  • 1 granny smith apple, diced
  • 3 tablespoons slivered almonds, toasted
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon garam masala
  • salt and pepper to taste
I rinsed the quinoa in a few changes of cold water and drained through a mesh strainer. In a saucepan I sauteed the onion, carrot, and garlic for about five minutes. I tossed in the quinoa and mixed to coat it with the oil. After about a 30 seconds I poured in the broth and added the cinnamon and garam masala and salt. I brought this to a boil, covered, lowered the heat and let it simmer until the liquid had cooked away.

In the meantime, in a small non-stick pan I sauteed the apple in some olive oil. I also added the almonds here. I let this saute until the apples got some golden color. I did this on a lower heat setting. Once the quinoa was ready I simply mixed everything in a large bowl and fluffed with a fork. The quinoa on it's own is a very satisfying meal. We used this as our main dish with a side of roasted eggplant and some leftover dal.

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