Quinoa Recipe With Latin FlavorsCourse: Vegetarian
Quinoa is a subtly flavored grain with ancient roots as a staple of the Inca people. It is widely available in natural foods markets and similar sections of major supermarkets.
Toasting quinoa before cooking it enhances the nutty taste, and rinsing it removes the bitter protective coating of saponin. This bitter coating actually helps protect it in the wilds from birds and other animals that might consider eating it. This helps make it a very hardy crop. It also tolerates dry soil well.
Quinoa is a unique grain in that it is high in protein and does not contain gluten. It is the only complete protein in the grain family. Quinoa is a chenopod and is closely related to tumbleweeds, spinach and beetroots. It is also a member of the Amaranthaceae family and is thus very similar to amaranth.
Quinoa was a major part of the diets of ancient South American civilizations and is now considered a superfood. Aside from being high in protein, it is also high in amino acids, dietary fiber, phosphorous, magnesium and iron. It is a good source of calcium and thus helpful to those who follow a vegan diet or are allergic to dairy. Quinoa was also recently certified as kosher by the Orthodox Union, thus making it a popular alternative during Passover for the Jewish community.
Cilantro, lime and green onions give a bright and refreshing flavor to the delicate nutty taste of quinoa. This is the perfect side for a meal of seafood, chicken or pork.
1 cup quinoa
2 tsp canola oil
1 medium yellow onion
2 cloves of garlic
1 100 g (4-ounce) can of chopped green chilies
2 cups of vegetable broth
100 g (3.5 oz) pumpkin
3/4 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 cup green onions
2 tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp salt
- Toast the quinoa briefly in a dry skillet over medium heat, stirring often, until it starts to crackle and emit an aromatic scent. This should take about 5 minutes. Add the quinoa to a sieve and rinse.
- Use the same skillet and add the pumpkin, toasting until golden brown and aromatic, about 5 minutes. Set aside.
- Chop onion into medium dice, mince garlic, and coarsely chop cilantro and green onions. Set aside. Heat oil in a deep fry pan or saucepan over medium heat. Add yellow onion and cook until softened, about 3 minutes.
- Add chilies and garlic and cook for 30 seconds, stirring often.
- Add the quinoa and broth and bring to a simmer. Reduce heat slightly to maintain a gentle simmer. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
- Stir in pumpkin, cilantro, green onions, lime juice and salt. Mix thoroughly and then fluff before serving.
- This quinoa recipe brings out the best flavors of the grain’s native culture with cilantro, pumpkin and fresh lime.