I was searching for a healthy, vegetarian alternative to the meals I usually eat when I stumbled upon this recipe. I absolutely love this dish because it tastes great and it’s quick and easy to make. It’s also pretty healthy too.
Quinoa is a superfood–It’s king of the grains in terms of protein content, a whole grain, and gluten-free. It’s something I should be eating more of!
This grain cooks up like rice: it uses a similar water to grain ratio and it comes out soft and fluffy. Since we make it in a pan on the stove, it reminds me of a time about 10 years ago when I was making Mexican rice in my parents’ kitchen. They insisted that I don’t follow the recipe, and just cook it in the uni-tasking rice cooker.
They said something to the effect of “Believe us. We cook rice very well and there’s no reason you should believe this recipe over us.” They are good cooks so trust is not an issue, but I was determined to do this on my own and stuck to the original plan. And guess what? It came out GREAT… just like this quinoa will when you cook it on the stove top.
Some tears were shed in the making of this dish since I don’t have onion goggles (yet). Putting the onions in the fridge beforehand cuts down on this, but I didn’t have time for that! I like these roughly diced.
Add a bit of olive oil to a pan on medium heat. Onion has more water and will take longer to brown, so in goes the onion first. When it starts to show some color, toss in the garlic until lightly browned.
Ahh quinoa…beauty with substance.
If you do not like cumin or spicyness (i.e. if you don’t like flavor), you could probably leave it out if you wanted and I would not hold it against you. It would probably still taste pretty good.
When the aromatics are browned, and your kitchen and shirt smells like what’s in the pan, add quinoa, broth and spices.
I added a few grinds of pepper and just a pinch of kosher salt (it’s more fun to pinch). This is going to depend on how salty you like your food or what you’re going to be eating this with. I used low sodium vegetable broth (140mg sodium per cup) and wanted to aim for slightly less salty dish since more can be added later.
I’m actually making this in a sautee pan with a sealed lid. Use a vented lid at your own risk.
After 20 minutes, your quinoa should be cooked and have your home smelling like cumin for the rest of the day (yum). If you’re unsure about cook time because of stove differences, lift the lid and check at the 15 minute mark to make sure.
Gently fluff and mix the quinoa. Add the beans and corn. If you’re using frozen corn you can keep it on low heat and mix until heated through. Add the chopped cilantro. I aimed for about 1/2 can of corn and 1/2 can of beans because I didn’t want those to steal quinoa’s spotlight. Add as much as you like.
Delicious ways to eat your new dish:
- Straight out of the pan
- Cold, out of the fridge
- With avocado or sauteed mushrooms
- With grilled chicken or fish
- As taco filling on fresh warm tortillas
I have not yet ventured into the other varieties & colors of quinoa. You can get a bigger selection online or at Whole Foods. I got mine from Costco, where some things only come in one shape, size, and color.
What’s your favorite way to cook and serve quinoa?
- 1 teaspoon olive oil
- 1 large onion chopped
- 5 cloves garlic peeled and chopped
- 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable broth
- 1 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
- salt and pepper to taste
- 1/2 can corn kernels
- 1 15 ounce can black beans, drained
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
- Heat the oil in a pan over medium heat. Add onions until lightly browned, then add the garlic until lightly browned.
- Add quinoa, broth, spices, salt and pepper into the pan.
- Bring to a boil on high, then simmer on low for 20 minutes.
- Add beans and corn to the pan over low heat (if necessary) until heated through. Add cilantro and serve.