Thursday, August 5, 2010

Toasted Quinoa with Spinach, Tomatoes and Walnuts

Quinoa has an irresistibly nutty taste, a texture that is crunchy yet delicate, and cooks in less than 20 minutes. I use it as a side dish, breakfast cereal, in salads, and often, as in this recipe, as part of a main dish. Serve with Warm Green Bean Salad with Red Onion and Mint (page 00). Cook time: 35 minutes.

  • 1½ cups quinoa
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1 garlic clove, grated
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 cup tri-color grape or petite cherry tomatoes
  • 1 bag (5 ounces) baby spinach, about 5 cups packed, rinsed and drained
  • ½ cup broken walnuts
  • ½ cup grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • Torn basil leaves (optional)

1. Place the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer and rinse under cold running water for at least 45 seconds. To save water swish the quinoa in a bowl of water instead of using the running water. Shake in a strainer to remove as much water as possible.

2. Add 1 tablespoon of the oil to a deep straight-sided skillet or sauté pan and warm over medium-low heat. Add the wet, but drained, quinoa and turn the heat to medium high. Stir the quinoa until it dries out and begins to turn golden, 8 to 10 minutes.

3. Add the garlic and cook, stirring, 30 seconds. Add 3 cups water and the salt and heat to a boil. Cook, covered, over medium-low heat, until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa the quinoa is translucent and appear to be uncoiling, 18 to 20 minutes.

4. Meanwhile heat the remaining 1 tablespoon oil in a small skillet over medium high heat until hot enough to sizzle a cherry tomato. Add the tomatoes and cook, shaking the pan, until the tomatoes are blistered and softened, about 5 minutes. Set aside.

5. When quinoa is cooked add the spinach and tossing with the quinoa, over medium heat, until wilted, about 3 minutes. Top with the tomatoes. Sprinkle with the walnuts and cheese. Fluff to combine. Garnish with basil and serve.

Makes 4 servings

From Fresh & Fast Vegetarian by Marie Simmons

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