The amazing quinoa

I have mentioned before how much I adore quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”). I have been experimenting with it and haven’t found a quinoa dish I didn’t like. Quinoa has so much nutritional value, it really is a supergrain. It contains a high protein content of 12-18%, which makes it an exceptional alternative for vegans, vegetarians or athletes. It is a good source of fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron and contains a balanced set of amino acids making it an unusually complete protein. Here are a few delicious quinoa ideas:

Quinoa, Cranberry, Walnut and Garbanzo Salad (an Eden Foods recipe)
1 cup Eden Organic Quinoa, rinsed well and drained
1 1/2 cups water
1 pinch Eden Sea Salt
4 ounces Eden Organic Dried Wild Blueberries
or Eden Organic Dried Cranberries
1 cup green peas, fresh or frozen blanched 2 minutes, rinsed and drained
1/3 cup walnuts, lightly dry pan roasted and coarsely chopped
1 cup Eden Organic Garbanzo Beans, drained and rinsed
1/3 cup red onion, finely chopped
2 Tablespoons fresh chives, finely chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
3 Tablespoons Eden Organic Brown Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Eden Ume Plum Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Eden Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 teaspoon finely ground black pepper, or to taste

Place quinoa, water and sea salt in a medium pot, cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the flame to medium-low and simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. While the quinoa is cooking prepare the dressing by mixing together the vinegars, olive oil and pepper in a small bowl and set aside. When the quinoa is done, place in a mixing bowl, and fluff with a fork to cool. When room temperature, add all remaining ingredients and pour the dressing over. Gently toss to mix. Refrigerate for 30 minutes before serving.

Quinoa, Avocado, and Sweet Potato Timbale with Roasted Tomatillo Dressing (I shaped them into hearts for Christopher and I, but you can shape them however) (Recipe courtesy of The Conscious Cook)

For the Quinoa 1 cup quinoa, cooked in vegetable stock according to package directions and cooled to room temperature
1/2 jalapeño, minced
1 tablespoon minced
fresh cilantro

For the Sweet Potatoes
1 sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch dice
2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

For the Tortilla Strips
Canola oil
2 corn tortillas, cut into 1/4-inch strips
1 teaspoon Cajun seasoning
1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
Juice of 1 lime
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

For the Dressing
2 tomatillos in olive oil, skins removed
3 tablespoons plus
1 teaspoon olive oil
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 teaspoon light agave nectar
Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

To Serve
2 avocados, diced
microgreens

PREPARATION

1. Make the quinoa:
Place all of the quinoa ingredients in a medium bowl and toss to combine.

2. Make the sweet potatoes:
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. In a small bowl, toss the sweet potatoes with the oil, and season with salt and pepper to taste. Spread in a single layer on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes, or until soft in the middle and lightly browned; be careful not to let the sweet potatoes burn.

3. Make the dressing:
Lower the oven temperature to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, toss the tomatillos with 1 teaspoon of the oil. Place on a baking sheet and roast for 15 minutes. Transfer to a food processor; add the vinegar, cilantro and agave nectar, and pulse to combine. With the motor running, pour in the remaining 3 tablespoons oil in a thin stream. Continue blending until emulsified. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

4. Make the tortilla strips
Pour 2 inches of oil into a small, heavy pot and heat until the oil shimmers. Add the tortilla strips and fry until crisp and browned, 1 to 2 minutes. Drain on paper towels and sprinkle with the Cajun seasoning.

5. Assemble the salads:
Place a 3-inch ring mold in the center of one of 4 salad plates. Fill with 1/4 of the quinoa mixture and press down with a spoon to pack the mold, smoothing the top. Place 1/4 of the sweet potato pieces on top of the quinoa and press down gently. Top with 1/4 of the avocado and press down gently. Carefully remove the mold. Repeat on the remaining salad plates.

6. Carefully place 2 tortilla strips parallel to each other about 1 inch apart on top of each timbale. Place 2 more tortilla strips perpendicular on top of those. Top the timbales with the microgreens and drizzle the dressing around the timbales. ( I skipped this step)

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