Quinoa is one of nature’s superfoods. It looks like a grain, but it’s actually a seed. What makes quinoa special is that it has a very high protein count, and unlike wheat or rice, it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein. It’s also a good source of fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron., and is considered gluten-free. When its cooked, it becomes light and fluffy, and has a slightly nutty flavor to it. It is a great, healthier alternative to white rice or couscous.
When preparing quinoa, you want to be sure to rinse the quinoa well before cooking. In its natural state, quinoa has a bitter tasting coating called saponin which helps keep birds away while its grows. If you don’t rinse off this coating, your quinoa will be bitter and unpalatable. Some varieties or boxed quinoa comes pre-rinsed, but if you buy organic quinoa from the bulk section like I do, you’ll have to rinse it yourself. To remove the saponins, soak the quinoa in water for a few hours, or rinse it in ample running water in a fine strainer or in cheesecloth.
This quinoa pilaf is a basic recipe – you can dress it up as you please, or eat it as is. Add veggies, black beans or pine nuts for an additional nutrition boost.
Yields: 4 – 1 cup servings
2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped or 1 shallot, finely chopped
2 cups quinoa
4 cups chicken broth
1 teaspoon parsley flakes
In large frying pan with a lid, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion and quinoa. Saute until the quinoa starts to brown and the onion becomes clear.
Add chicken broth and parsley flakes and bring to a slight boil. Cover and reduce heat. Cook for 12 minutes, covered, until liquid is absorbed. Fluff with a fork, recover and allow to steam for another 10 – 15 minutes. Season with salt and pepper, and serve.
Source: Good Cheap Eats