Thursday, July 19, 2012

Quick & Easy Confetti Quinoa

Quinoa is an easy to make, protein-packed, lower-carbohydrate alternative to rice. Quinoa is also gluten-free. Its mild, subtly nutty flavor readily complements virtually any savory dish, and also works nicely as a hot breakfast cereal--simply stir in some brown sugar honey or maple syrup, fresh or dried fruits, nuts, a splash of milk, or anything else you'd normally add to hot oatmeal.

If you can find pre-washed quinoa, it will save you the time and hassle of having to rinse the quinoa before cooking (quinoa has a natural "soapy" coating that's washed off by rinsing). Otherwise, you'll need a very fine strainer or a colander lined with a non-terry kitchen towel to rinse the quinoa under running water prior to use.

"confetti" (diced) veggies
I call this dish "confetti quinoa" because of the colorful, finely-diced vegetables. It is similar to rice pilaf and the recipe is more of a "guideline" than a formal recipe because you can use whatever diced, sauteed vegetables you prefer--I happened to use orange bell pepper, red onion, and zucchini. You could also substitute any type of broth or even plain water for the chicken stock, and season with your favorite herbs and spices. The entire recipe takes only 20 minutes using pre-rinsed quinoa.

American Roland Foods - Andean Quinoa, Prewashed
Buy pre-washed quinoa
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and ready to cook
1 1/3 cup chicken or other broth
1/2 to 3/4 cup diced vegetables, e.g., onion, summer squash, pepper, celery, carrot, etc.
1 Tbs olive oil
Salt & pepper to taste
Opt: your choice of dried or chopped fresh herbs for garnish/seasoning

Combine the quinoa and broth in a small pot or saucepan and bring to a gentle boil, stirring occasionally. Cover, reduce heat to low and cook for 15 minutes. While the quinoa is cooking, dice the vegetables and then saute the olive oil until softened. After the quinoa has cooked for 15 minutes, remove from heat and let sit, covered, for 3 to 5 minutes. Uncover, stir in the sauteed vegetables, season to taste with salt, pepper and  any other desired seasonings. Serve hot.

Zestfully yours,

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