Saturday, February 7, 2009
Have you tried quinoa? It's this fantastic, crunchy little grain that's native to the Andean region of South America (largely Bolivia and Peru). It's light and fluffy, and each tiny grain pops just so in your mouth. It's very mild tasting, so it's perfect with nearly any flavor you want to give it.
Sometimes I make it, plain, cooked in chicken broth, as an alternative to rice. It cooks in a flash (just 20 minutes) and it contains more protein than any other grain. It's also great as the base to salads. In short, it's a really great pantry staple. You can find it in bulk bins, some grocery stores, and health food stores. Whole Foods sells a big bag of it for around $3.
For a healthy Friday afternoon lunch, I made a pot of quinoa, tossed it in a gingery vinaigrette, and loaded it with veggies for a colorful, healthy, and filling one-bowl meal.
Asian Quinoa-Vegetable Salad
Makes about 3 lunch servings or 2 dinner servings
1 cup quinoa
1 small bag frozen shelled edamame, corn, and red pepper mix
2 tablespoons seasoned rice vinegar
1 (1-inch) piece fresh ginger, peeled and grated
1 teaspoon sriracha (Asian chile-garlic sauce)
2 teaspoons soy sauce
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
2 handfuls washed baby spinach
Wash quinoa in a fine-mesh seive until water runs clear. In a large saucepan of boiling, salted water, cook quinoa for 10 minutes. Drain in the fine-mesh seive, and fill the saucepan with 2 inches water; bring to a boil. Set the seive with quinoa over the saucepan (don't let seive touch water). Cover with a clean kitchen towel, and the pan lid, and steam for 10 minutes, or until quinoa is dry and fluffy.
Meanwhile, cook edamame mix according to package directions.
Combine vinegar and grated ginger in a large bowl. Let stand for 10 minutes. Add sriracha and soy sauce, and whisk in oil until dressing is uniform in consistency. Add cooked quinoa and spinach, and toss well. Add the cooked edamame mix, and toss again. Add extra soy sauce and sriracha to taste.