Sunday, January 17, 2010

A Nourishing Gift From the Andes.

Native to the high elevations of the Andes mountains, quinoa has been eaten traditionally for over 6,000 years. Not only is this amazing food prized for it's balance of essential amino acids (making it a complete protein), it also contains fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. Low on the glycemic index, quinoa is a great choice as a whole grain.
It can be eaten savory or sweet. I like it seasoned with toasted nuts, lemon zest, garlic and sea salt. Here is a tasty and equally eye catching recipe I often make:

Treasure Chest Quinoa:
* 2 cups quinoa, rinsed very well
*4 cups water
*2 garlic cloves, pressed with garlic press
*1/4 cup olive oil
*handful fresh chopped Italian flat leaf parsley
*1 Tbsp fresh lemon juice
*zest from 1 lemon
*1/4 cup toasted pine nuts (or toasted almonds, walnuts, cashews)
*2 ribs celery, sliced thin diagonally
*1 pomegranate
*1-2 cups green beans, lightly sauteed or blanched, cut into pieces
* 1 generous teaspoon sea salt
*fresh ground pepper

Bring water to a boil. Add quinoa, reduce heat to low. Cover and simmer without stirring, for about 15-20 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. In medium bowl, mix together olive oil, pressed garlic, parsley, lemon juice, lemon zest, salt and pepper. Add all but about 1 cup of the cooked quinoa (you can sweeten the remainder for breakfast in the morning). Add green beans, celery, and toasted pine nuts. Remove the gem like seeds from about 2/3 pomegranate. Add to quinoa. Gently stir. Add more salt, pepper and lemon juice to taste. Sprinkle with shaved Parmesan (optional).

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