Quinoa. Some people love it. Some don’t. I can understand why, no matter where you fall out on the quinoa spectrum. I know I’m biased, but it’s hard to resist loving quinoa is the recipe I’m posting today. It has a delicious and exotic taste: slightly smoky, funky (in a good way) texture, fills me up without being heavy in my stomach; it’s got a satisfying slight crunch. I grew up in Wynnefield, PA, eating all traditional foods on this holidays: brisket, g. fish, c. soup, kugel, the 12-egg sponge cake, macaroons, and all the rest….and I can assure you, we never thought of quinoa. We never even heard of it! The food I eat now does not have to compete with those old standards, nor do I need a “meat substitute” to make me happy and my meal complete. I rarely use any of the popular commercially prepared “vegan items”, unless of course I want one!
Quinoa is an ancient grain, that is really not a grain at all. It’s a seed in the beet/spinach family. And although my children view me as ancient (or so they say), I never heard of nor ate quinoa until five years ago. When I first tried it, I had high hopes and expectations, but unfortunatly took an instant dislike to it. There was a slightly soapy lingering aftertaste… not the best indicator of a “new favorite”, “can’t live without it” kind of reaction.
Eventually, I got around to working up some new ways to enjoy quinoa, and now it is a staple in my kitchen. I make a pot one way during the week, and another way for Shabbos. One of my favorite Shabbos or Yuntif vegan main entrees is quinoa and mushroom stuffed peppers, which I posted previously, and is entirely suitable for Pesach. Now I’ve created a new recipe that is amazing, and I am so grateful that quinoa is kosher for Passover, and I can share this with you in my attempt to share EVERYTHING PASSOVER. When I shop for Pesach at my local supermarket, I buy several packages in advance of the holiday, knowing that if I don’t use it all up (which I will), I can happily use it in the following week or two.
I almost hate to boast about how healthy quinoa is, for fear of turning off as many people as I interest with this. Incorporating quinoa has harnessed my creativity to find ways to utilize this incredible superfood.
- 2 Cups quinoa
- 4 Cups water
- 1/2 Cup onions, finely diced, or 1 bunch scallions, whites sliced, and 1/4 cup of the greens (closest to the white area) which will add some beautiful color
- 5 Sun-dried tomatoes, either plain or soaked in olive oil, sliced in ribbons
- 1/2 Cup cooked sliced mushrooms, your favorite variety or a combination of different types
- Salt/pepper, to taste
- Cast iron pot with tight fitting lid
- Wooden spoon
- Cutting board and knife
- Measuring cups
Measure quinoa into strainer and rinse for several minutes under clear running water. This helps remove that soapy flavor I mentioned above. Put into pot with the measured water and bring to a boil. When the water starts boiling, stir through with a fork, reduce the heat to low/simmer, cover, and set the timer for 15 minutes. Chop the scallions or onions and throw them into the cooking quinoa in the first five minutes of simmer. Make ribbons out of the sun dried tomatoes and put them into the pot in the next five minutes of cooking. Add the cooked mushroom slices and the ribbons of scallion greens in the last couple minutes of cooking. The quinoa is done when the liquid is absorbed, and you see white curly q’s have sprouted from the quinoa kernels. Remove from heat. Stir. Add salt. It will achieve it’s full bloom of flavor with salt, if you can handle it, but otherwise, tweak it with black pepper. I’m too embarrassed to say how much salt I use (too much), so I always leave it as an item to be self regulated. Fortunately, high blood pressure is not one of the issues I have, but I am sympathetic to anyone who needs to eliminate or regulate their intake of this, as I have to regulate so many other ingredients because of my particular food related issues. Just so you know: I am very interested in creating recipes that make food accessible for everyone’s dietary needs.