Sunday, July 27, 2008
We eat a lot of quinoa in our house. I put it in the rice cooker and we eat it a few times a week as our starch. The kids request it for lunch quite often, and eat it with butter and shredded cheese.
Many people don't know what quinoa is. That's okay. We didn't start eating it until just this past year. Here is a quick article on what it is, exactly. I thought it was a grain (because the Trader Joe's box says so), but the article says that's actually the seed of a leafy plant. Huh.
If you've never cooked with quinoa before, this is a great recipe to try---it is full of yummy stuff, and is a light, yet comforting meal or side dish.
--1 1/2 cups quinoa
--3 cups broth (chicken or vegetable; I used chicken)
--1 T olive oil
--1/2 t salt
--1/2 t cinnamon
--1/4 sliced or chopped almonds
--1/3 cup dried unsweetened cranberries
--handful of baby spinach
--1 cup baby tomatoes, halved or quartered depending on size
--1/2 block feta cheese, crumbled
You are supposed to rinse quinoa. I didn't know this until I made the disastrous overnight brown rice and quinoa pudding, and read all of the comments. I still don't rinse the quinoa that comes in the orange box from Trader Joe's. If you have a different brand, or are using quinoa from bulk, rinse it in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear.
Dump it into the crockpot. I used my 6qt Smart Pot for this dish.
Add 1 tablespoon of olive oil and mix it around. Add chicken or vegetable broth, the salt, and cinnamon. Stir in almonds and cranberries.
Cover and cook on low for 4-6 hours, or on high for 2-4. The quinoa is done when you can fluff it with a fork and it is tender. The liquid should be pretty well absorbed, similar to how you know rice is done.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork, and add the baby tomatoes and feta cheese. Stir gingerly to mix. Add a large handful of baby spinach to the top of the crockpot, and close the lid. Cook on high for about 20 minutes, or until the spinach has wilted. Stir again to distribute the spinach.
We ate this for lunch yesterday, and really enjoyed it. I can see adding garbanzo beans for a bit more protein and to up the heartiness. I was quite pleased with the very mild cinnamon flavor, and loved the cooked cranberries and almonds.
The kids both liked this.
This will be made again. Very soon.