It’s a New Year ~ so let’s start off with something healthy and fresh, shall we? I’m sure most of you are familiar with the super trendy grain called quinoa. For a long time, I thought it was pronounced kee-know-ah. But nope, it is keen-wah. (I learned that one the hard way – by ordering something at a fancy restaurant and being promptly corrected by the server. Oh well…)
I’ll be honest ~ quinoa has been a hard sell in my house for some time now. I have tried cooking it before and it just came across kind of bitter and bland. So when I came across this recipe in Giada’s new book, I was eager to give it a go. The result packs a lot of flavor and could be a satisfying lunch or light dinner on its own or easily pair well with a protein. The other thing that I love about this recipe is that it is just as good chilled as it is warm. You’ll definitely enjoy the leftovers.
For instructions on washing quinoa and other basics, you should also check out this very helpful summary.
Giada’s Quinoa Pilaf (recipe from Giada’s Feel Good Food)
What You’ll Need:
3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 large or 4 small shallots, chopped
1 small red bell pepper, cut into 1 and 1/2 inch pieces
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
1 and 1/2 cups of quinoa, washed
1/4 cup dry white wine, such as pinot grigio
1 and 1/2 cups low sodium chicken broth
1 medium cucumber, peeled, seeded and cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 packed cup arugula, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint leaves
grated zest of 1 lemon
*the recipe also calls for 1/2 cup slivered, toasted almonds, which I omitted because of a nut allergy*
What You’ll Do:
In a large pan, heat 2 tablespoons of the olive oil over medium-high heat. Add shallots and cook until soft/translucent ~ about 2 minutes. Add the bell pepper, salt and pepper. Cook until the bell pepper is soft ~ about 5 minutes. Add the remaining tablespoon of oil and the quinoa, stirring constantly until the quinoa is coated with oil.
Pour in the wine and cook until all of the liquid has evaporated. Then pour in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover the pan and simmer until all of the broth has been absorbed by the quinoa and the quinoa is tender ~ about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat, cover and let sit for 10 minutes. Stir in the cucumber, arugula, mint, lemon zest and almonds (if you wish) and serve.
I hope you all had a wonderful New Year’s Eve and enjoy this short work week!