Thursday, September 1, 2011

In the Kitchen with Rosemary Quinoa

Have you tried quinoa?

You've probably seen it in magazines or on lists of healthy foods, but perhaps you don't even know how to pronounce it.  (Or maybe that was just me, a few years ago.  For the record, it sounds like keen-wah.)

It's in those magazines and on those lists for good reason. It's a rare plant source with the full set of amino acids: a complete protein.  It's even gluten-free, if that's your bag!  Plus, it's been around for a long time - it was first domesticated in South America over 3000 years ago.  It's not part of the grass family, so it's not a cereal or a grain.  (It's called a pseudocereal, as is buckwheat.)  All of that aside, it's very filling, and I really like it with veggies as a salad.

A friend of mine recently told me she has disliked quinoa every time she tried it.  I promised to attempt a quinoa salad that she'd actually enjoy, and this post chronicles that attempt.  (Audra, I'll have to make it for you soon and see if it works!)

Here are today's ingredients.

First thing's first - you MUST rinse the quinoa first.  Otherwise it'll taste yucky after it's cooked.

Chop all of the veggies into medium-sized pieces.


In the meanwhile, follow the directions on the quinoa box. I cook 1/2 cup dry, and split it into 5 servings.
(This is a great dish to take to lunch during the work week.)


You'll know it's done when the little kernels are translucent, and you can see the little "tail" curl.


Spritz a large saute pan with spray oil (like Pam) and start the rosemary on low for a few minutes.


Then add the onions, and cook them low and slow.  (Limbo-style, I always say.)


After about 10 minutes, if the onions are starting to look translucent, add the eggplant chunks.


Steaming helps to speed the eggplant along - I recommend using a round pizza pan if you don't have a lid!


When the eggplant is soft enough, it'll turn a darker brown.


And... wha-la!  Combine the quinoa with the veggies, and a single teaspoon of olive oil.
Add some sliced tomatoes for garnish, and split one ounce of crumbled goat cheese between the 5 servings.


I hope this inspires you to try quinoa... even if you haven't had a great experience with it in the past, combining it with flavors that work so well together (and rinsing it in advance) can combat that weird off taste it sometimes has.  Good luck... and take care of you!


  1. Sounds yummy! I just saw a recipe in this month's Women's Health magazine for a dessert/snack using quinoa. 1/2 c plain non-fat yogurt, 1/3 c quinoa, 2 tsp black currants. Alternately layer the ingredients in a glass or bowl. Picture shows a tall, skinny fancy beer pint glass so it looks like a pretty parfait. I plan on making it soon, maybe using other fruit instead.

    Love hearing about all of the new things you are trying! Jackfruit BBQ is for sure on the agenda soon!

  2. I love quinoa! I had no idea it was such a healthy little bugger! Once again, one of your recipes has me drooling. :3

  3. When I made quinoa over 2 years ago, I didn't hate it, but I thought it was really bitter. I think I know why - I didn't rinse it first!!!

    This recipe looks easy and so yummy, plus the nutrition stats are great! This is going to be on my menu in the next week or two. Thanks for the inspiration!