Posts Tagged ‘quinoa’

Halibut is usually so expensive that I substitute cod in recipes that call for halibut since their textures are so similar.  Recently I got a deal on halibut so I snatched it up.  I love the way halibut tastes so I don’t embellish it much.  For this halibut I used a simple butter/lemon sauce flavored with slices of garlic.  After the halibut was grilled, I added a couple of spoonfuls of sauce with a garnish of parsley.

halibut with quinoa stuffed tomato

However, halibut alone is not a dinner so I paired this beautiful fish with a stuffed tomato recipe I found on Cooking Light.  It was a gorgeous large tomato stuffed with a tomato flavored quinoa containing flavorful pieces of roasted poblano peppers, roasted corn, roasted onion, a touch of cumin, lime juice, salt and pepper.  After I stuffed the tomatoes with the quinoa mixture, I topped them off with some Colby-jack cheese.  As much as I love halibut, I must say that the tomato was the better part of the meal.  I hasten to add that they could have been the whole meal.  Vegetarians, take note.



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Holidays are a great time to share food with friends.  This year I decided to make a quinoa salad celebrating the theme for the Fourth of July. So I chose to make a Red and White Quinoa Salad and serve it in a big blue bowl.  This salad is large enough to feed 35  people during a progressive dinner so you might want to scale it down for a family or small gathering of friends.

Red and White Quinoa Salad in a Big Blue Bowl


12 ounces white quinoa, cooked

12 ounces red quinoa, cooked

2 large red peppers, chopped

8 ounces of crimini mushrooms, diced

6 scallions, sliced

½ of a large red onion, thinly sliced

Generous handful of flat leaf parsley, chopped

2 jars of marinated artichoke hearts, chopped

15 ounces garbanzo beans

(I make big batches of beans and freeze them so I measured, defrosted and allowed these to dry a bit.  If you use canned beans, rinse them thoroughly and allow them to dry a bit.)

8 ounces crumbled feta cheese

1 cup slivered almonds

Lemon Vinaigrette (recipes follows)


Lemon Vinaigrette:

3 large lemons (about ½ cup)

1 ½ cups olive oil

4 teaspoons Dijon mustard (adjust to taste)

Sea salt and cracked pepper to taste

Process all ingredients in a small food processor or use a whisk to emulsify the vinaigrette.

Begin by cooking the quinoa.  While the quinoa cooks, begin chopping your vegetables.  Your quinoa will finish cooking before you finish chopping so when the quinoa is done, remove it from the heat, fluff with a fork and let it rest covered for another 10 minutes or so.  Then remove the cover and allow the quinoa to cool while you finish chopping.

When all your vegetables are chopped, fold them into the quinoa along with the feta cheese crumbles and almonds.

Add the vinaigrette in increments of about ½ cup at a time until you are satisfied that your salad is seasoned properly to your liking.  Leftover dressing can keep in the refrigerator for several days and can be used for green salads and pastas salads too.

Cover the salad and set it in the refrigerator to chill.  This salad is best served chilled or at room temperature.  It makes a great potluck side dish because it travels well.  In fact, I take containers of this salad with me when I travel so I get my protein and vegetables, i.e. a complete meal, in flight and I don’t have to worry about spoilage or bringing a cooler as carry-on luggage.





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Quinoa is such a versatile ingredient.  Serve it warm, serve it hot or serve it chilled and the results are pleasing.  I love my old tried-and-true Quinoa Tabbouleh that I serve over the summer months.  True too, that I love my winter Quinoa Vegetable Salad with pumpkin and winter squash.  It only makes sense that I needed a Springtime Quinoa.  So here we are!

The early crops are coming up strong in our gardens so they dictated the ingredients for my new Springtime Quinoa Salad.  It’s so simple that writing a recipe isn’t necessary.  I’m going to tell it as my grandmother would have said it.


Make a batch of quinoa.  While it’s cooking, rinse about two cups of black beans.  I make mine from dried beans but canned will work if you rinse them well and drain off the water.  Chop about a palm-full of red onion.  Chop another palm-full of red bell pepper.  Grab a bunch of cilantro and chop well.  Grab some flat leaf parsley and chop it well too.  One large garden scallion from our garden is enough but if you use store-bought, chop at least 3.  Chop one large seeded tomato into small dice sized pieces.

Season it all with a good couple of grinds of sea salt and black pepper.  Combine lemon and olive oil at a ratio of 1:3.  Whisk until it is emulsified and toss with the salad ingredients.  You can also enhance this with a garnish of Feta Cheese or some toasted almond slivers.  Serve at room temperature, warmed or chilled.  It’s up to you!  Any which way, it’s good.

Unfortunately our quinoa crop was destroyed by local construction so I purchased the quinoa.  However, the onion, scallion, parsley, cilantro and lemon all came from our garden. Soon I will be able to use the tomatoes too.  Homegrown makes it better if you can do it.

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Our first attempt to grow the ancient grain, Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) in our gardens proves to be successful with these healthy stalks standing proudly.

Quinoa is an ancient grass from South America where the Incas grew it as their main crop in the cool weather of the Andes.  As creative farmers, they terraced the slopes of their mountain homeland and planted a variety of crops including, tomatoes, squash, maize, melons, peanuts, chili peppers and cotton.

One unique aspect of quinoa is its nutritional value.  Quinoa is almost as complete a protein as an egg!  It also delivers some wonder vitamins, like E and B, as well as calcium, phosphorous and iron.  It is gluten-free, easy to digest and possesses a higher nutritional value than oats or wheat.

Quinoa can be eaten hot, warm or cold.  With this level of versatility, any cook can exercise creative ways to prepare it as a cereal, stuffing, salad, main course or even baked into breads.  You can even make desserts like Oatmeal Quinoa Cookies too.

Since this is our first season growing quinoa, an adventure looms ahead when we begin our harvest.  Given the size of these stalks, it’s time to begin learning how to harvest and dry those stalks now.

Oh, here is an interesting bit of trivia in case you find yourself on Jeopardy: the Incas were the first civilization to plant and harvest potatoes!

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Lately I’ve been in pursuit of economical meals that are nutritionally balanced, offer a variety of flavors, and easy to prepare.  Middle Eastern dishes that use whole, fresh foods and pungent spices fit the bill perfectly.

Quinoa offered a fabulous spin on a traditional tabouleh salad by replacing the typical couscous or bulgar as the grain.  In an ongoing effort to save money and prevent waste, I used a combination of vegetables from my refrigerator drawer.

To my delight, the vegetables on hand comprised a rainbow of colors: purple cabbage, celery, red onion, Italian parsley, fresh mint, seeded bits of tomato, minced cucumber.  I enhanced this colorful medley with crumbles of feta cheese and toasted almond slivers.

Queen of the Grain Salads: Quinoa Tabouleh

Queen of the Grain Salads: Quinoa Tabouleh

A fresh and light dressing using 1 part olive oil to 3 parts fresh lemon juice with a pinch of sea salt and a couple of grinds of pepper perked up the mixture.

After a good tossing, it rested in the ‘fridge for about an hour—about the same time it took to set the table, enjoy a glass of wine and prepare the protein.

Skewered kofta kebabs complemented our Quinoa Tabouleh perfectly, accompanied by a Cucumber-Mint Tzatziki Sauce, to round out the meal for dinner although the tabouleh alone makes a fine lunch or vegetarian dinner.

Another twist adding fresh or leftover chopped meat, poultry, fish or tofu turns this into a healthful and balanced meal-in-one for lunch or dinner.

Quinoa Tabouleh

(Serves 4-6)

1 cup quinoa, uncooked

1/3 cup thinly sliced purple cabbage

1 celery stalk, sliced

½ red onion, chopped coarsely

½ cup Italian parsley, chopped

¼ cup mint, sliced thinly

2 tomatoes, seeded and chopped finely

½ Kirby cucumber, finely diced

½ cup crumbled feta cheese

¼ cup toasted, slivered almonds

Bring 2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan.  Stir in 1 cup quinoa.  Reduce heat to medium-low; cover and simmer 10-12 minutes until water is absorbed.  Remove from the heat, fluff the quinoa, cover again and let sit another 15 minutes.

Move the grain to a serving bowl, add in the vegetables and nuts and stir.  Reserve the feta until just prior to serving.  Dress the tabouleh with the olive oil/lemon mixture.  Stir well, cover and let it rest in the refrigerator for an hour before serving.  Add the feta, stirring to mix and remix the tabouleh, just prior to serving.

Remember this recipe was based on whatever I had on hand in my refrigerator.  Your vegetables may be different and widely varied so use your imagination and make your own signature tabouleh in the process!

(This can be served cold or at room temperature)

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