Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Quick Cooking with Quinoa

It's amazing how fast the natural foods industry moves to get popular items on the shelf for the masses. There's the soy milk craze, acai craze, and now I'm starting to get the sense of a quinoa craze. It's everywhere! Its even showing up at local restaurants as side dishes, who would have thought? Check out this recent article Link

So, I've been cooking with quinoa for a couple years now. At first it tasted funny, there was no satisfaction from eating it, and I always ate it plain. . . a huge mistake! After lots of experimenting in the kitchen, I now love how versatile the seed is - I eat mine for breakfast with almond milk, coconut flakes and a banana, for lunch in my salad or for dinner with some veggies & protein! The best part is, it only takes about 20 minutes to cook. The second best part is, you can really make quinoa suit your personal tastes.

For savory, I'm posting one of my favorites. . .

Quinoa with Leeks & Asparagus
3 leeks chopped up (about 1 1/2 cups)
1 bunch of asparagus (I pick the skinny stalks)
Pinch of Salt
Maybe a tablespoon or two of white wine
2 cups cooked quinoa
Olive oil

Cooking the quinoa
The proportions are simple: 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water. Place everything into a sauce pan, turn the burner on high and bring the water to a boil. Once boiling, turn down to simmer, cover and let it sit until water is fully absorbed. This may take around 20 minutes... not that long.

The good stuff
Dice leeks into small slices. Be sure to clean them really well before chopping. Wash and dice asparagus. In a large sauce pan, add some olive oil over medium heat and stir in the leaks. Once leeks become transparent, add the asparagus. Add salt & pepper to taste... I even threw in a couple tablespoons of white wine (psst secret ingredient). Let everything marinate. The asparagus will turn a vibrant green and the leeks will start caramelizing. After about 8-10 minutes, add 2 cups of cook quinoa. Toss around to soak up the flavors. You could even let the quinoa crisp up a bit on the bottom of the pan.

This makes about 4 ample servings. I topped mine off with a fried egg and some avocado.