Crazy for Quinoa

quinoa2 1Growing up in the 60’s and 70’s, there was no quinoa!  If there was, our Armenian/American kitchen knew nothing of it… was good ol’ mashed potatoes or butter laden rice pilaf – white rice at that!  Well, trends aren’t just for fashion, they also affect our food habits as we become more educated about what contributes to good health and a longer life.

Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wa’, is a grain from South America actually related to beetroots and spinach; produced in white, red, and black varieties…while the calorie content is about the same as brown rice, quinoa is higher in fiber, higher in protein, higher in antioxidants, and gluten free…….considering myself a healthy eater, I regularly order it in restaurants, and now also serve it at home.  With a salad it can be a meal in itself, but I usually will embellish with other additions for added protein and a variety of textures.  Here is a recipe from the Boston Globe that was a big hit at a recent family gathering:

Sweet and Sour Chicken on Brown Rice with Quinoa

8 chicken thighs on bone

1/4 c ketchup

1/4 c hoisin sauce

2 T cider vinegar

2 T chopped fresh parsley

Set oven at 400 degrees.  Arrange thighs on baking sheet; in a bowl, stir together the ketchup, hoisin sauce, vinegar.  Use a spoon to spread mixture on both sides of chicken.  Roast for 40-50 minutes until meat pulls away from bone. Allow to cool. When cool enough to handle, cut chicken off bone into thin slices, transfer to a platter, spoon the cooking juices on top, sprinkle with parsley.

Brown Rice with Quinoa

3 1/2 cups water

1 cup brown rice

1/2 cup red quinoa

Salt and pepper to taste

Bring water and salt to a boil, add the rice, cover pan, simmer for 20 minutes.  While that is cooking, put the quinoa in a dry skillet over medium heat and cook, stirring often, for about 5 minutes, until it starts to darken. (It will start to make little popping sounds!) Once the quinoa is ‘toasted’, tip it into the rice, re-cover, and continue cooking both together for another 20 minutes, until both are tender.

sweet sour chicken
Sweet and Sour Chicken Thighs

To serve, scoop a portion of rice/quinoa onto a plate, then top with chicken.  For a southwestern flair add a few avocado slices and a spoonful of black beans  and corn. Garnish with chopped parsley or cilantro.  Yummy!

Do you cook quinoa at home?  What is your favorite way to serve?


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One Comment

  • Sounds like a good recipe. I’m not crazy about ketchup so I will try substituting tomato paste with a bit of agave for the sweet. Hope I don’t ruin it.


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