Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Quinoa and Asparagus

Maybe some of you are ahead of us, but we are just discovering the beauty of quinoa at our house. A little background: it is a South American grain that is almost 20% protein. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete food. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten free and considered easy to digest. Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous. For more see:

So I've been experimenting a little bit with some quinoa recipes. This is the best one we've tried so far and makes a great protein-filled, meatless meal. Mia even ate it too...Oh ya, I buy quinoa in the bulk foods section of the store because it's cheaper. You can also find it sold in a box in the health food section.

2 cups white quinoa, rinsed well
4 scant cups water
2 tsp. chicken boullion
a few splashes of extra virgin olive oil
3 - 4 medium/large potatoes, cut into 1/2-inch dice
1 large yellow onions, chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
1 cup toasted nuts (walnuts, pine nuts, etc)
1-2 cups lightly cooked asparagus, cut into 1/2-inch segments
salt to taste
fresh parmesan to top (optional depending on your taste)

Mix the quinoa, water & boullion in a pan. Bring it to a boil then turn down to a simmer for 12-15 minutes. It's not supposed to be mushy, kind of like a firm, nutty rice. If there's any liquid at the end, drain it off.

Cook the potatoes, olive oil and onion in a large stir-fry type pan on medium heat until the potatoes are tender (it takes a good 1/2 hour or so of occasional stirring). Put the potatoes on a plate. To the already dirty pan add the garlic, (I added mushrooms because I had them in the fridge), pine nuts and asparagus. Cook until the asparagus is crunchy but tender. Combine the asparagus, potatoes & quinoa in the pan. Add salt and pepper to taste. Yum!

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