Quinoa was my secret ingredient of the night...
What is quinoa? Althought it is usually referred to as a grain, it's actually the seed of the leafy Goosefoot plant, and is a relative of spinach, beets, and Swiss chard. It is used in place of grains because of its cooking characteristics (source). To me it looks a bit like cous cous, but with a heartier texture, and more versatility in cooking.
I wanted to try different ways of making it; the first time I cooked quinoa was in place of rice in stuffed tomatoes; the second was seasoned quinoa that was a side with chicken in a chipotle sauce.
Tonight I thought about my favorite types of food and ingredients. Italian and Mexican, of course!
I made a list of ingredients for each. The Italian quinoa would include roasted garlic, tomatoes from my garden, and fresh spinach. The Mexican quinoa (see post below) would include jalapenos from my garden, corn, red pepper, and Mexican spices.
Quinoa with Roasted Garlic, Tomatoes, and Spinach
- 1/2 c quinoa, rinsed and drained (it is important to rinse quinoa to wash off any residue which can be bitter in taste)
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (optional, I like them for some kick)
- 2 tbsp dry white wine
- 1 c vegetable broth
- 1/2 bulb roasted garlic (about 6 cloves), chopped
- 1 small tomato, seeds removed and chopped
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh spinach
- 1 tbsp shallots, chopped
- 1 tbsp Parmesan cheese
- Heat olive oil in a pot
- Add shallots and red pepper flakes and saute for 1-2 minutes
- Add quinoa and stir for 1-2 minutes
- Add wine and stir until absorbed (wait until you see how the quinoa jumps around in the pot when liquid is added!!)
- Add broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat to low and cover. Let simmer until broth is absorbed, about 12-15 minutes.
- Once the broth has absorbed, stir in the roasted garlic, tomatoes, spinach, and cheese.
- Serve immediately.
2010 Edited to Add: This recipe was chosen to be featured in Cooking Light Magazine! It was in the August 2010 Issue.
2011 Edited to Add: I made this again (triple the recipe) and served it at room temperature as a salad at a small brunch party - delicious! I also mashed half of the roasted garlic and mixed it into the quinoa when I added the broth, and the entire dish was really infused with the roasted garlic flavor.
This turned out exactly how I thought it would. It could easily take the place of creamy orzo dishes, or other small pastas. From what I know about quinoa, it's also healthier than pasta.
On to my next quinoa of the night...