Um, No. It's Keen-Wah (Quinoa)
Written by Gayle
Want to know what grain has the highest protein content? Quinoa.
Want to know what grain stands alone as a complete protein? Quinoa.
Going gluten free? Quinoa.
Want more iron and fiber? Quinoa.
Well, there was a little lie in there...
Quinoa is actually a seed, but it is used like grain. This anciently-used food is a chenopod, a flowering plant. The plant is related to spinach and beets, and even tumbleweeds!
(Need more information? Click for nutritional facts)
I had tasted quinoa in several dishes, but hadn't tried it myself until about six months ago. I'd had several salads -- especially with spinach -- that had quinoa. I really liked the nutty goodness, and the salads were highly satisfying. I'd also had it as a pilaf.
Lassen's Deli also has created two delicious dishes with quinoa that you can try--Quinoa Black Bean Salad and Quinoa Italian Salad.
OK, I'm sold. So what do I do with it?
Last fall I found a recipe in the LA Times Foods Section for a Kale-Quinoa Salad. I had also just gotten into eating kale, and liked how it held up to dressings--I could eat the salad left over the next day (or even two!) and it wasn't soggy.
So here is my adaptation of the LA Times recipe.
Prepare the Quinoa
Bring 1-1/2 qts water to boil in a medium sauce pan.
Many recipes suggest (demand?) that the quinoa be rinsed. But I use the prewashed Ancient Harvest Brand of Quinoa. (And it has a really delicious-sounding recipe for quinoa stuffed peppers on the back of the package! I'll have to try that one!)
In a dry pan, toast 1/3 cup quinoa until lightly browned and aromatic. Toss and turn the quinoa with a spatula so that it doesn't burn.
Pour the toasted quinoa into the boiling water (it will bubble up, so be careful), stir, and then simmer for 11-12 minutes.
While the quinoa is simmering, toast 1/4 cup slivered almonds in the same dry pan. Watch these carefully, too--they burn quickly. Pour onto a small plate or bowl and cool.
Then make the vinaigrette.
Stir all of these ingredients together and set aside.
- Juice of 3 lemons plus the zest from one lemon
- 1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 shallot, minced
- 1 TBSP anchovy paste
- 1/4 cup grated or shredded parmesan cheese
- 2 large basil leaves, cut in thin strips
- freshly ground sea salt and pepper to taste
Check the quinoa. The outer germ will sprial away from the grain (it looks pretty cool!) When that has happened, drain, rinse, and cool.
Assemble the rest of the ingredients in a large bowl
Toss with one-half of the lemon vinaigrette (the remainder will keep in the refrigerator for a week or so.)
- 1/2 lb of chopped kale. I use 1/2 of a 1-lb bag of the Harvest Sensation Kale Salad
- 1 head of romaine, chopped
- 1/4 cup raisins (the original recipe calls for golden raisins, but I don't care for the preservatives that are in all golden raisins)
- 1/4 cup shredded parmesan cheese
- the toasted almonds, and
- the drained quinoa
Serves 6-8 for a side dish, or 4 for a main dish.
Enjoy the Yummy Quinoa and Kale Goodness!
I'm telling you, it's fantastic the second day, too!
For the original LA Times recipe, click here.