November 12, 2013

quinoa with roasted squash

I have always been curious about quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) and was interested to find out about its taste and texture. From what I read so far, it's called "mother grain" which has been cultivated and harvested in South America since ancient times. Quinoa is light and makes a great substitute for couscous with a similar texture. The tiny grains absorb seasonings well and become more flavorful when cooked in chicken or vegetable broth. I roasted some butternut squash until tender and served them with the fluffy quinoa for a healthy side dish.

I found some helpful tips on how to properly cook quinoa from The Kitchn cooking website. For every cup of dried quinoa, use 2 cups of water or broth. Transfer the quinoa to a wire mesh colander, rinse very well under running water then drain well. Heat a little olive oil in a skillet then add the quinoa and toast for a few minutes. Stir in the liquid and a pinch of salt (optional). Simmer for 15 minutes over low heat. After 15 minutes, turn off and remove from heat. Allow to stand for another 5 minutes. Use a fork to gently separate the grains before serving. Garnish with chopped parsley or basil leaves.

butternut squash is a personal favorite but other roasted vegetables will work too

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