Monday, November 16, 2009

Quinoa: The Underappreciated Seed

Today, I am thankful for Quinoa (pronounced "keen-WAH"), the gluten-free wonder grain! Once you get the hang of pre-rinsing the couscous-like kernels, you will be surprised by this delicious, hearty, and versatile carb. Full of protein, fiber, iron and amino acids, it kicks the pants off wheat, in my opinion. Quinoa was considered sacred to the Inca, who called it "the mother of all grains," and I tend to agree with them. It is the seed of a plant in the beet family, not a grain in the traditional sense, and so is free of the gluten that causes bad reactions for so many. As a delightful introduction to my favorite grain, I would like to pass on a simple recipe for Quinoa Stew, which can also double as a satisfying gluten-free, vegan stuffing replacement. Before you begin, be sure to thoroughly rinse the Quinoa. I prefer to dump the grains in a saucepan, fill the pan part-way with water, swish the grains around with my hand, then carefully strain it with cheesecloth.

Quinoa Stew

1.5 cups Quinoa
2-3 Tbls. olive oil
2 large carrots, chopped
1 small onion, chopped
1.5 cups vegetable broth

In a medium saucepan, saute Quinoa with olive oil until the grains turn clearish. Add carrots, onion and broth and bring to a boil. Turn heat to medium-low and simmer covered until all the liquid is soaked up. That's it! Experiment with other vegetables and spices to find the perfect version for you.

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