Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is an ancient plant from the South American Andes, grown mainly for its edible seeds. The plant has green leaves like spinach and big clusters of seeds. It can grow in high altitudes, and was a staple of the Aztec and the Inca peoples.
When quinoa seed is processed, it’s washed in alkaline solution to remove bitter toxic compounds. And most cookbooks will tell you to wash the quinoa very well to be sure all the bitter compounds are removed.
Some folks say you can eat quinoa on Passover; others caution against it (because it could be milled with wheat). I’m siding with the former — perhaps because it’s been nearing the end of the 8-day holiday and I have eaten more than my fill of matzoh and potatoes!
Last night I made some quinoa pilaf with a little fresh mint, and I sauteed some mushrooms, garlic and asparagus to serve on top. Yum. Aviva made me a lovely quinoa salad, with dried apricots and pine nuts and more — here’s what she says:
The quinoa salad includes : chopped dried apricot and almonds (or hazelnuts, pine nuts), chopped red or yellow bell pepper, sauteed onion, lemon juice, salt and pepper, paprika, cumin, corriander, parsley
…. Any other quinoa recipes out there?
- Saute 1/2 a cup chopped onion or green onion in 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil until soft
- Add 1 cup of washed quinoa and stir for 4 or 5 minutes; then add salt and pepper
- Add 1 3/4 cup of broth or water; cover and cook until the quinoa is tender and most of the water is absorbed; about 20 minutes. If the quinoa is not cooked yet, add another 1/4 cup of water and continue cooking. If there’s too much liquid, remove the lid and increase the heat, stirring till the liquid evaporates.
- Fluff with a fork, and add — if you like — a bit of butter and some fresh finely chopped herbs, such as mint, parsley or chives.