Quinoa, along with kale, are the current health food crazes touted by foodies near and far. It is a particular favorite with those seeking to reduce their carbohydrate intake, and still get wholesome grainy fiber into their diet. If you haven’t yet tried quinoa, this quinoa pilaf is a good transition recipe. Be aware that the end texture is supposed to be a bit chewy. It doesn’t soften completely like rice because it has a lot more of that good fiber we all need. And yes, that little spiral translucent germ tail on the quinoa is supposed to be there. Give this a try and share your comments below.
Creamy Quinoa Pilaf Recipe
1 Tablespoon butter
1/2 cup finely-chopped sweet onions
1 clove garlic, pressed
1 cup quinoa (tested with Pereg white quinoa)
1 cup strong chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream or milk
1/2 cup shredded gouda, havarti, or asiago cheese (tested with Dofino Creamy Havarti)
1-1/2 cups fresh or unthawed frozen chopped broccoli florets
1/2 cup chopped roasted red peppers
1 Tablespoon fresh minced basil or 1 teaspoon dried (may substitute oregano)
1/2 teaspoon salt or to taste
Melt butter in a 2-quart heavy saucepan. Saute onions until translucent, but do not brown. Add garlic and saute, while stirring, for 30 seconds to cook out some of the rawness. Add quinoa and stir to coat with the butter. Carefully pour in the chicken broth and cream or milk. Bring to a simmer, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes. (No peeking!)
Stir in cheese, broccoli, red peppers, basil or oregano, and salt. Cover and cook an additional 10 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked through. Quinoa will become translucent and its spiral germ will become visible when it is cooked through.
Let rest for 5 minutes off the heat before serving.
Yield: 6 to 8 servings
• Feel free to use your favorite melting cheese instead of my suggestions above.
• An equal amount of chicken broth may be substituted for the milk or cream.
• Add more or less of the broccoli and roasted red peppers to suit your tastes.
• Broccoli substitutions: Chopped asparagus, green beans, or sweet peas.