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My love/hate relationship (with quinoa, that is)

Until recently, I had a love/hate relationship with quinoa. On the one hand, I loved its nutty goodness, and the fact that a single bowlful was packed full of nutrients. On the other, I hated the fact that I simply couldn't manage to prepare it properly, despite carefully following every quinoa-making tutorial I found.

"Toast the quinoa grains in a little oil before boiling," declared well respected Gourmet magazine. Quinoa fail. "Cook it just like rice using one cup quinoa to 2 cups water", insisted multiple food bloggers. Another quinoa fail. "Bring the pot to the boil, turn off the heat completely, and allow the quinoa to steam for 20 minutes", suggested a well- meaning vegan friend who practically lives on the stuff. Sadly, this too produced disastrous results.

I was just about to break-up with quinoa entirely when I tried one final, alternative cooking method. I cut the suggested amount of liquid to quinoa right back - every pot of quinoa I'd produced tasted like wet porridge - plus I cooked the entire dish in the microwave.

Eureka!

At last, I could take it for granted that I'd produce perfect results every time, and I now had the opportunity to use quinoa in every salad and vegetarian dish I'd ever dreamed of. At the time of writing, quinoa still enjoys kosher for Pesach status, and I certainly hope it will continue to do so. I'd gladly trade pasta, rice and bread for the joys of versatile quinoa any day, and most certainly not only at Pesach time. Put this fabulously fruity, roast butternut 'n quinoa salad to the test, and you'll understand why.

If only everything this good for you, tasted this good too.


THE ULTIMATE QUINOA SALAD WITH HONEY 'N SPICE ROAST VEGETABLES

Ingredients

1 ½ cups of red or white quinoa, very well rinsed and drained in a fine sieve (see COOK'S NOTES)

2 cups butternut, diced in small cubes

1/2 cup dried cranberries

1/2 red onion, chopped into small squares

1 teaspoon crushed garlic

Olive oil

1 tablespoon honey or silan (date honey)

1/2 teaspoon each ground ginger and curry powder

1/2 cup chopped, toasted pecans

2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley

Salt and coarse black pepper

Method

1: Rinse quinoa VERY well then place in a bowl with 2 ¼ cups salted water, cover and microwave on high for 12 to 14 minutes.

2: Allow to stand covered for approximately 20 minutes then mix with a fork.

3: Place butternut, onion and garlic in a baking pan, drizzle over a couple of teaspoons of honey/silan, a light sprinkling of ginger, curry powder, salt and pepper and a few teaspoons of olive oil.

4: Toss ingredients together then cook at 180 C for approximately 20 minutes till vegetables are tender.

5: Add vegetables to quinoa, add chopped parsley, nuts and a drizzle of extra olive oil if desired, check salt and pepper and serve at room temperature.

COOK'S NOTES: Rinsing the quinoa is vital as the seeds are naturally coated with a bitter substance that repels birds and insects and this has to be removed. I recommend washing under running water whilst rubbing the quinoa grains against the sides of the sieve. If you still find the quinoa a bit hard after microwaving for the required time, return it to the microwave with a few tablespoons of extra water, and cook for a few minutes longer then allow to stand covered till the water is absorbed.

JOIN THE DELICIOUS FAMILY! Delicious cooking and decor classes are held in English mornings and evenings from a kosher kitchen in Hod Hasharon. To find out more - or to receive my weekly free newsletters with course updates - write to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. You find me on Facebook under 'Lisa Brink at Delicious' and weekly newsletters are published here too. 

 

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Monday, 20 September 2021

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