Quinoa is the challenge ingredient for September.
It is so easy to make a dish with the whole grain because it really has no taste of its own.
Measure 1 cup tan quinoa into a wire strainer and wash under running water for about a minute. Drain and set aside to finish draining as much water as possible.
Heat a large iron skillet with a tablespoon of olive oil.
Add in 5 garlic gloves, 1/2 sliced, chopped sweet red pepper.
Add 1 tablespoon of minced ginger (fresh or jarred)
Sauté until the garlic is soft (or use pre-prepared garlic in oil)
Stir in the quinoa, turn heat to high and continue stirring with a wooden spoon until the quinoa starts to change to a golden color.
Add in 1 cup chicken or vegetable stock and 1 cup hot water.
Stir to move all of the grain down into the liquid.
When the mixture is bubbling, turn heat to low and place a cover on skillet. Let it cook undisturbed for about 10 minutes.
In the meantime, open a can of black beans, dump in the same wire strainer as used for the quinoa (after you have rinsed out the strainer) and rinse under water until all foam disappears. It will be quicker, it beans are placed in a bowl or container with water then poured into the strainer.
When quinoa is finished cooking, add in beans and stir with a fork to prevent smashing the grain.
I prepared these the day before. Just spray 4 Portobello caps with olive oil and grill on a ‘George Foreman’ type grill or an iron skillet until done.
Brown Sugar Baked Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash.
This is an existing recipe, find it here: Brown Sugar Baked Sweet Potatoes and Butternut Squash.
Makes 4 meals
So, what exactly is quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is a seed originally grown in South and Central America, with some of the crop now grown in Canada. Quinoa has a high protein value; complete with all eight of the essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans.
Quinoa is a protein rich grain which is also high in unsaturated fat and lower in carbohydrates than most grains. It may be used in any dish in place of rice or similar grains.
Though it’s not technically a grain (it is a seed from a leafy plant), quinoa can be substituted for grains in cooking (like rice or couscous). Quinoa is rich in protein, iron, potassium, a good source of fiber, and is easily digested.
Called the Mother Grain by the Incans, this grain was a staple in the diet of that civilization. Quinoa is coated with saponin and must be thoroughly rinsed before it is cooked. Some brands have already been rinsed, but to be on the safe side, always rinse it!