Keen for Quinoa (too cutesy? oh well, can’t think of another title)
August 10, 2011
I love quinoa. My first exposure to it was at Turley’s, where it’s offered as a choice to complement their Scrambled Tofu. Most people consider quinoa (pronounced ‘keen-wah’ in English) a grain, but it’s actually the seeds of the quinoa plant. Native to the Andes region of South America, it’s very high in protein for a non-meat food. And it’s got a nice, slightly nutty flavor. I buy quinoa that has been pre-rinsed to remove the saponins (apparently a soapy compound that you want to remove to avoid digestive issues). But you still want to rinse it a couple of times, even if it has been pre-rinsed.
Most of the quinoa that I’ve seen is of the white variety, but somewhat recently I discovered red quinoa, and found that the flavor is a bit stronger than the white quinoa, so that became my new favorite. Then as I was shopping at Whole Foods this past week, I came upon a bag of black quinoa. Well, given my strange obsession with the color of foods, I HAD to try it! The bag suggested mixing it with red and white for a multi-color dish, so I did half black and half red. It was so pretty in the colander that I paused, mesmerized, to stare at it for a while before continuing.
I decided to use a variation of the dressing on the southwestern potato salad I make using a great recipe from Cooking Light. It’s got a great smoky/lime juicy flavor. For the chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, I use La Costeña, which they have at most of the grocery stores around Boulder. You just take a couple of the peppers out of the can and mince them with the adobo sauce still on them.
The quinoa seemed like it would be a great vehicle for a couple of ears of Munson Farms’ awesome sweet corn. I added a bell pepper and a couple of spring onions as well.
serves 4-6 as a side
1/2 cup black quinoa, well rinsed
1/2 cup red quinoa, well rinsed
2 ears sweet corn
1 bell pepper, chopped
2 spring onions, finely chopped
3 tsp olive oil, divided (smoked if you have it)
1/2 cup vegetable broth
3/4 cup water
2 chipotle peppers in adobo sauce, minced
1 Tbsp lime juice
Grill or boil the corn, and then cut the kernels off of the cobs once they are cooled. Put the vegetable broth and water into a pot and bring to a boil. Add the quinoa, bring back to a boil, then turn heat down to low. Simmer, covered for about 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. (Check it at about 10 minutes to see if you need to add more water.) After 15 minutes, check to make sure it’s tender, and then remove from heat, and let stand for 5 minutes.
Meanwhile, heat 1 tsp of olive oil in a skillet. Saute the peppers and onions until the peppers start to get tender (some crsipness is ok). Set aside.
In a small bowl or mug, combine the chipotle peppers, lime juice, remaining 2 tsp of olive oil and several shakes of Liquid Smoke. Stir well with a fork, and add salt and pepper to taste.
When the quinoa is done, add all of the other ingredients, and stir well to combine. Feel free to double the amount of ‘dressing’ that you use if you want a stronger taste. You can eat the quinoa warm, but it is also great refrigerated and eaten cold.