Posted on | July 17, 2012 | 7 Comments
I’ve talked before about how awesome quinoa is – it’s a healthy food, low fat, with more protein that brown rice. It’s a pretty good source of fiber, and pretty filling, too. A lot of people think it’s a grain, but it’s not! It was a main source of nutrition for the Incas, and we like it too. I read an article a while back that said that since quinoa is becoming more popular in the US, a lot of it is being exported and so the prices have gone up quite a bit. It used to be a typical food in the Andes, but the increases in price have more or less put it out of reach for a lot of the very poor – which is really bad news, because that’s contributing to malnutrition among kids in the Andean regions, especially on the Bolivia side.
I’m really not sure how much quinoa has ever been used in criolla food here on the coast, but I can tell you I rarely see any except in soup. That’s the way I’ve usually made it too, just thrown a bit into the soup to add some awesome healthy Inca goodness. But I decided to try something a little different this time and this is what I came up with.
Quinoa with Spinach and Queso Serrano (2 servings)
- 1/2 cup quinoa
- 1 cup chicken stock (or water if you want to go vegan)
- 2 cloves garlic – thinly sliced
- 1 cup sliced mushrooms
- 1 cup spinach leaves – torn into smallish pieces, large stems removed
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 oz queso serrano (substitute with farmer’s cheese or feta – or leave out for vegan)
- salt/pepper to taste
Here’s How You Do It!
- Rinse your quinoa really well. Put it in a small saucepan with the chicken stock and bring to a boil. Reduce heat, and let it simmer covered until all the liquid is absorbed – about 15-20 minutes.
- While the quinoa cooks, heat the olive oil in a medium saute pan. Cook the garlic and mushrooms just until the garlic is beginning to brown – don’t let it burn! You may want to use low-ish heat for this.
- When the quinoa is done, add it plus the spinach to the saute pan with the mushrooms. Cook together just until the spinach begins to wilt, then remove from heat.
- Add the crumbled cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.
This recipe is SO easy and yummy, and there’s tons of things you can do to make it even yummier or healthier. Instead of the soft cheese, you might want to sprinkle it with parmesan or even some grated cheddar. Add pine nuts, crushed pecans or seedless sunflower seeds for some crunch! Put a poached egg on top for a light, healthy lunch.
I served this with rosemary baked fish (2 sprigs of rosemary, juice from a lemon and a filet wrapped in an aluminum foil jacket then baked) and some steamed carrots.
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