For years I have resisted Quinoa. And for what reason I do not know. The internet had been alive with it but I refused to budge.
"Quinoa ( // or //, Spanish: quinua, from Quechua: kinwa), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds.It has a high protein content and it is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolrant."
Brown Rice -- Check.
Daliya -- Check.
Flax Seed -- check.
Quinoa -- Ummm...
And then one day I got a frozen box of cooked quinoa from Trader Joe's, the kind which says defrost and cook in microwave for 12.5 minutes. It was a disaster. Really. I don't know how I could have gone wrong with those instructions, there were barely any. But it was so bad that D refused to eat any of it.So there went my Quinoa dream.
Then again one fine day while on vacation in Cape Cod, I spotted a Trader Joe's. Of course I had to go in. More important than disturbing the colony of whales and ogling at them I tell you.Since I couldn't buy anything frozen, I bought a whole packet of uncooked quinoa and carried it all the way back home where it sat in the pantry for almost two months. Until today that is.
Watching the opening ceremony of the London Olympics seemed a befitting time to try a new grain. The opulence of one could mask the other's failure, I assumed.
The idea of a quinoa salad with cucumber came from here also the instruction to cook it right. I also decided to pair the quinoa salad with a grilled mushroom and sweet pepper on the side. The idea of the marinade for the vegetables came from Progna's blog.
This is what went in the marinade:
1/4cup Olive Oil
Juice of half a lime
1 tsp whole black pepper coarsely crushed
3 clove of garlic coarsely pounded
1 tsp Red Chili flakes
2 tsp Brown Sugar
1/4 tsp or more Lime zest
The baby portabella were rinsed, dried and tossed in the marinade along with some sweet peppers. After an hour soaking up the marinade the vegetables were set on the outside grill to char and cook. Alternately you can also roast them in the oven.
Now comes making the Quinoa Salad:
Meanwhile 1 cup of Quinoa was soaked in water for 5 minutes.
On the stove was set to boil a pan with 3 cups of salted water. When the water comes to a boil, drain the quinoa on a strainer and add to the pan. Lower heat to medium and cook for 12-15 minutes. Little thread like thingy will come out from the seeds when they are cooked and the tiny seeds will turn translucent. Once done, drain the Quinoa, put it back in the pan and let it sit for 5 minutes. I also rinsed it in cold water while draining and then fluffed it with a fork.
Chop cucumber, red onion and green chili and in a bowl toss them with olive oil, salt and lime juice.Add some finely chopped coriander leaves. Gradually add the cooked quinoa to this bowl and toss. Taste and adjust for seasoning as you go.
The Quinoa Salad was darn good by itself and we had it with the grilled mushroom and sweet pepper.
Faster, Higher, Stronger....the amazing power of the Human Bean. Go Olympics.
Now when I had started this post I thought I would send it to Jaya's "Healthy Food--Whole Grain" event. But Quinoa is technically a seed and not a grain so I am not sure if it deserves an entry.