Cranberry Quinoa

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Quinoa has recently gained poplularity but beyond its fun pronunciation ‘keen-wah’, what is it???

Most people think of it as a whole grain but its actually a seed. It’s a ‘superfood’ or just some fancy way of saying it’s beneficial to your health and well-being since it’s packed with protein, fiber and minerals. Those of you who are gluten intolerant eat up cause it’s also gluten free! Quinoa is not only mild in flavor but it’s rich texture makes it versatile. If you search the internet there are tons of recipes out there even for breakfast.

One thing I will tell you to look for is whether the package indicates if it’s prerinsed or not. Quinoa naturally has a coating, called saponin, on it that can either taste bitter or soapy. When I first tried quinoa I didn’t know it came prewashed. The package said to use a fine mesh strainer, hold it under cold running water, and use one hand to gently stir the quinoa. I didn’t have a mesh strainer. So I added the quinoa to a bowl, added cold water, stirred it around, let the seeds settle to the bottom, then TRIED to pour all the water out without losing half the quinoa down the sink.  

Disastrous still comes to mind!

I shied away from quinoa until I was cooking with my friend Briea. She just measured and poured it right into the pot. The whole time it was cooking I was thinking, “Great this is going to taste awful!” After a bite, it was fine, so I asked. That is when I found out the hard way that it comes prerinsed! As long as you have the mesh strainer it really isn’t labor intensive but I’d rather take my chances with the prerinsed version any day.

 

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The package will say one part quinoa to two parts water. However, depending on what I am making it with, will determine if I will actually use water or not. Since it is so mild in flavor, adding chicken broth or any other flavor stock helps add a flavor element to it. I was pairing this particular quinoa with pork so I chose to use vegetable broth.

 

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Sometimes simple is best and this recipe could not be any easier. Once the quinoa is cooked, remove from heat and throw in cranberries, scallions, and lemon juice. You will want to fluff it with a fork to incorporate all the ingredients because a spoon would just create mush and who would want that?! 

 

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Quick and easy all in under thirty minutes! No matter if you make it a main dish or like I did here as a side, it really does complement many diverse flavors. In a recent post I made Autumn Chops. The cranberries complemented the pork nicely this time of year and the quinoa was a healthier take on a stuffing. Drizzling some of that onion cider sauce on it even kicked it up another flavor notch! 

Julia Child said it best, “No one is born a great cook, one learns by doing”. Learn from my mistakes (prerinsed. prerinsed. prerinsed.) and don’t be scared! Half the fun of cooking is seeing what you can create. 

 

Cranberry Quinoa
Serves 4
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Ingredients
  1. 1 cup quinoa
  2. 2 cups vegetable broth
  3. 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  4. 3 tablespoons scallions, sliced
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. juice from 1/2 lemon
  7. salt and pepper to taste
  8. 1 tablespoon EVOO (optional)
Directions
  1. Cook quinoa according to package adding salt to boiling water.
  2. Using a fork fluff cranberries, scallions, and lemon juice into quinoa. Salt and pepper to taste.
Notes
  1. You could use water in place of vegetable broth or any other broth flavor depending on what you are pairing this side with. You could add the dried cranberries to the pot of boiling water when cooking the quinoa to absorb some liquid and plump them up. If you notice the quinoa is clumping together add EVOO.
From Paper To Plate http://www.frompapertoplate.org/

 

 

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One Comment

  1. This was a delightful alternative to bread stuffing on Thanksgiving since I’m Gluten Intolerant and I have to avoid wheat. I put the gravy on this and I was in heaven. Others around the table tried it and loved it. Thanks for the recipe. It will be one I make often.

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