quinoa

Kaniwa Mujadarah

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Everyone who knows me knows that Mujadarah is among my favorite things to eat. I serve it for my annual break-the-fast. I serve it anytime I have lots of people over for a celebration, like a birthday or a welcome-to-the-world party for a new grandchild.

I've made Mujadarah using brown rice. I've made it with bulgur wheat

Sometimes I add mushrooms (there's a recipe for that in my book, Hip Kosher).

Recently, the good folks at Pereg sent me a bag of Kaniwa. 

What?

Have you heard of kaniwa?

It's similar to quinoa (in fact some call it baby quinoa), but the seeds are much smaller (about the same size as poppy seeds). It is a complete protein, it's gluten-free and high in iron. That is a big big deal when you are looking for nourishing, meat-free recipes.

Unlike quinoa, kaniwa does not have a coating of saponin on the surface, which means it does not have the somewhat bitter, somewhat soapy taste that some find objectionable in quinoa. You don't have to rinse kaniwa (in fact, if you do, these teeny things will fall right through the holes in the strainer!).

I've actually cooked with kaniwa. A while ago I posted a recipe for Kaniwa Salad with Roasted Tomatoes. It's a terrific base for salads. A nice soup filler. You can sweeten it and eat it like cereal, for breakfast.

But me, with my mujadarah love? I made some kaniwa mujadarah! Look how beautiful this is! Perfect dish for a meatless Monday.

 

Kaniwa Mujadarah

  • 3/4 cup lentils
  • water or stock
  • 3 carrots, diced
  • 1 cup kaniwa
  • 1-3/4 cup water
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 4 large yellow onions, peeled and sliced
  • 10 ounces mushrooms, cut up
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley, optional
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin, optional
  • salt to taste

Place the lentils in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water starts to boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook the lentils for about 25 minutes or until they are tender. Drain the lentils and set them aside. While the lentils are cooking, place the carrots in a saucepan, cover with water and bring to a boil over high heat. When the water starts to boil, lower the heat, cover the pan and cook the carrots for 5-6 minutes or until they are tender. Drain the carrots and set them aside. Place the kaniwa in a saucepan, cover with 1-3/4 cups water and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover the pan and cook for about 15-18 minutes until all the water has been absorbed. While the kaniwa is cooking, heat 5 tablespoons of the olive oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onions and cook, stirring occasionally, for about 10 minutes or until beginning to brown. Add the mushrooms and cook an additional 5 minutes or until the onions and mushrooms are soft and brown. Place the lentils, carrots, kaniwa and most of the onion-mushroom mixture in a bowl. Stir gently to distribute the ingredients evenly. Stir in the remaining olive oil. Add the parsley and cumin, if desired and toss the ingredients. Sprinkle with salt to taste. Top with the remaining onion-mushroom mixture.

If serving at a later time, cover the pan and reheat in a covered baking dish in a preheated 350 degree oven.

Makes 6-8 servings

 

Quinoa Salad with Broccoli, Yellow Squash and Tomatoes

Quinoa Salad with Broccoli, Yellow Squash and Tomatoes  Health and nutrition experts try in earnest to get everyone to eat more whole grains. I guess that’s a convincing message for some people, but for those of us who love food, the better reason is that ingredients like farro, bulgur wheat, oat groats and so on, are incredibly versatile and we can make them into wonderful things to eat.  I use cooked whole grains a lot because there is so much to do with them that my food is less likely to get boring. So — I put them into soups, side dishes, risottos, pilafs, and on and on — just as, in the old days, I used to use rice.  Now that warmer weather has arrived, there are going to be more salads on my menu. Cooked whole grains with: raw and cooked vegetables and/or fruit, maybe some nuts added. Mix in vinaigrette and it’s done.  So easy.  Quinoa isn’t a whole grain. It isn’t even a grain. It’s a seed.  But it looks and cooks like grain. It’s filling like a grain. And is as versatile.  So quinoa salad will be on my menu more often now too, starting with this one:         Quinoa Salad with Broccoli, Yellow Squash and Tomatoes   1 cup quinoa  1 stalk broccoli, cut into bite size pieces (about 2 cups)  3-1/2 tablespoons olive oil  1 medium yellow squash, cut into bite size pieces  4 scallions, chopped  1 clove garlic, finely chopped  1 cup cut up grape tomatoes  3 tablespoons lemon juice  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste     Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Let drain. Bring 1-3/4 cups water to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the quinoa into a bowl to cool. While the quinoa is cooking, cook the broccoli in simmering water for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain, let cool and add to the quinoa. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the squash and scallions and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften the vegetables slightly. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Spoon the vegetables into the bowl with the quinoa. Add the tomatoes and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. In a separate bowl, combine the lemon juice, remaining olive oil and salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Pour over the quinoa mixture and toss. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings   

Quinoa Salad with Broccoli, Yellow Squash and Tomatoes

Health and nutrition experts try in earnest to get everyone to eat more whole grains. I guess that’s a convincing message for some people, but for those of us who love food, the better reason is that ingredients like farro, bulgur wheat, oat groats and so on, are incredibly versatile and we can make them into wonderful things to eat.

I use cooked whole grains a lot because there is so much to do with them that my food is less likely to get boring. So — I put them into soups, side dishes, risottos, pilafs, and on and on — just as, in the old days, I used to use rice.

Now that warmer weather has arrived, there are going to be more salads on my menu. Cooked whole grains with: raw and cooked vegetables and/or fruit, maybe some nuts added. Mix in vinaigrette and it’s done.

So easy.

Quinoa isn’t a whole grain. It isn’t even a grain. It’s a seed.

But it looks and cooks like grain. It’s filling like a grain. And is as versatile.

So quinoa salad will be on my menu more often now too, starting with this one:  

 


Quinoa Salad with Broccoli, Yellow Squash and Tomatoes

1 cup quinoa

1 stalk broccoli, cut into bite size pieces (about 2 cups)

3-1/2 tablespoons olive oil

1 medium yellow squash, cut into bite size pieces

4 scallions, chopped

1 clove garlic, finely chopped

1 cup cut up grape tomatoes

3 tablespoons lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Let drain. Bring 1-3/4 cups water to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for 10-12 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the quinoa into a bowl to cool. While the quinoa is cooking, cook the broccoli in simmering water for about 3-4 minutes or until tender. Drain, let cool and add to the quinoa. Heat one tablespoon olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the squash and scallions and cook for 2-3 minutes to soften the vegetables slightly. Add the garlic and cook briefly. Spoon the vegetables into the bowl with the quinoa. Add the tomatoes and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. In a separate bowl, combine the lemon juice, remaining olive oil and salt and pepper to taste; mix well. Pour over the quinoa mixture and toss. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings

 

Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps with Raisins and Pine Nuts

It’s amazing how so many so-called “poor people’s foods” have become mainstream. Potatoes (forced on peasants by Germany’s King Frederick Wilhelm). Oats (defined in Samuel Johnson’s famous dictionary as a grain eaten by people in Scotland but fit only for horses in England). And beans. A life-saver for millions, but which writer Don Marquis said there would be none of in the “almost perfect state.”  In South America, mostly Peru, quinoa is a staple for the poor, and particularly for women who are pregnant and can’t afford meat.  That’s because this grain-like seed is so high in protein. It contains all the essential amino acids one needs for good health.  All of these foods — potatoes, oats, beans — are everyday parts of our modern American diet.  Quinoa is the “newcomer.” Sales of the stuff have soared in recent years.   And not just because it is healthy. But also because it is tasty, filling and versatile. It’s perfect for a vegetarian diet but also goes nicely as a side dish for meat-eaters.  Last, but not least, quinoa is kosher for Passover (caution here: some rabbis think otherwise so if you are in doubt, check with your local authority).  It is kosher for Passover because even though it cooks like a grain, looks like a grain and is as versatile as a grain — used for soups, salads, side dishes and so on — it is not one of the prohibited grains or other ingredients.  This Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Cap is a satisfying, filling main course for vegetarian, dairy or meat meals during Passover or any other time of year.       Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps with Raisins and Pine Nuts      6 large Portobello mushroom caps  3 tablespoons olive oil  Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  4 thick scallions, chopped  1/4 cup pignoli nuts  1 large clove garlic, chopped  1/4 cup golden raisins  2 cups cooked quinoa  2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint  Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wipe the mushroom caps clean, remove the inedible steams and place them outside up on a baking sheet. Brush the outsides with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the caps over (the gills side up). Bake for 10 minutes or until softened. While the caps are baking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and pignoli nuts and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and raisins and cook for another minute. Add the quinoa and mint and cook briefly to distribute the ingredients evenly. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon equal amounts of the quinoa mixture onto each mushroom cap. Just before serving, bake the caps for 10-12 minutes or until the mushroom is tender.  Makes 6 servings        It’s beautiful too, don’t you think?   

It’s amazing how so many so-called “poor people’s foods” have become mainstream. Potatoes (forced on peasants by Germany’s King Frederick Wilhelm). Oats (defined in Samuel Johnson’s famous dictionary as a grain eaten by people in Scotland but fit only for horses in England). And beans. A life-saver for millions, but which writer Don Marquis said there would be none of in the “almost perfect state.”

In South America, mostly Peru, quinoa is a staple for the poor, and particularly for women who are pregnant and can’t afford meat.

That’s because this grain-like seed is so high in protein. It contains all the essential amino acids one needs for good health.

All of these foods — potatoes, oats, beans — are everyday parts of our modern American diet.

Quinoa is the “newcomer.” Sales of the stuff have soared in recent years. 

And not just because it is healthy. But also because it is tasty, filling and versatile. It’s perfect for a vegetarian diet but also goes nicely as a side dish for meat-eaters.

Last, but not least, quinoa is kosher for Passover (caution here: some rabbis think otherwise so if you are in doubt, check with your local authority).

It is kosher for Passover because even though it cooks like a grain, looks like a grain and is as versatile as a grain — used for soups, salads, side dishes and so on — it is not one of the prohibited grains or other ingredients.

This Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Cap is a satisfying, filling main course for vegetarian, dairy or meat meals during Passover or any other time of year. 

 

Quinoa Stuffed Portobello Mushroom Caps with Raisins and Pine Nuts

 

6 large Portobello mushroom caps

3 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

4 thick scallions, chopped

1/4 cup pignoli nuts

1 large clove garlic, chopped

1/4 cup golden raisins

2 cups cooked quinoa

2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Wipe the mushroom caps clean, remove the inedible steams and place them outside up on a baking sheet. Brush the outsides with about 1 tablespoon of the olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Turn the caps over (the gills side up). Bake for 10 minutes or until softened. While the caps are baking, heat the remaining 2 tablespoons olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and pignoli nuts and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the garlic and raisins and cook for another minute. Add the quinoa and mint and cook briefly to distribute the ingredients evenly. Taste for seasoning and add salt and pepper to taste. Spoon equal amounts of the quinoa mixture onto each mushroom cap. Just before serving, bake the caps for 10-12 minutes or until the mushroom is tender.

Makes 6 servings

 

 

It’s beautiful too, don’t you think?

 

Beet, Quinoa and Vegetable Burgers

Don’t those patties look like regular, ready-to-cook burgers? The ones in the top photo?

But they’re not. In fact, they are veggie burgers and the vegetable mixture includes chopped beets, which makes them red, like raw beef.

I am a meat eater for sure. So is Ed. But sometimes we want something lighter for dinner. So occasionally we will have a vegetarian meal. Usually it’s eggs or a salad or some kind of pasta dish. But I love root vegetables and thought I would figure out how to make a burger looking dish, like this one.

I also cooked the mixture as meatloaf (glazed the top with a mixture of some Balsamic vinegar and vegetable oil). That was quite tasty too, though I prefer the burgers. We are big sandwich eaters at our house.

Beet, Quinoa and Vegetable Burgers

  • 1 small sweet potato 
  • 1/2 cup raw quinoa
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 1 cup cooked white beans
  • 3 tablespoons vegetable oil
  • 1 large onion, chopped
  • 1 small beet, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 medium carrots, peeled and finely chopped
  • 1 large clove garlic, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon finely chopped fresh ginger
  • 1 packed cup chard leaves, chopped
  • 1/4 cup plain dry bread crumbs
  • 1 large egg
  • salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • all-purpose flour
  • vegetable oil for frying
  • 12-16 slices multigrain bread (or use burger buns)
  • 1/2 cup mayonnaise
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard

Roast the sweet potato until tender (or microwave it). Scoop the flesh into a bowl. While the potato is cooking, place the quinoa and water together in a small saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pan, turn the heat to low and cook for about 12-14 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Add the quinoa to the bowl with the sweet potato. Mash the beans and add to the bowl. Heat the 3 tablespoons vegetable oil in a large saute pan over medium heat. Add the onion, beet, carrots, garlic and ginger and cook, stirring often, for 3-4 minutes or until softened. Add the chard and mix it in. Remove the pan from the heat, let cool slightly and add to the bowl. Toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Add the bread crumbs, egg and salt and pepper to taste. Shape the mixture into 6 or 8 patties. Coat the patties with some flour. Heat about 1/8-inch vegetable oil in a saute pan over medium heat. Fry the burgers for 2-3 minutes per side or until hot and crispy. Toast the bread if desired. Mix the mayonnaise and mustard. Spread equal amounts of the mustard-mayo on half the bread slices. Top with a burger, then the remaining bread.

Makes 6-8 servings

Chicken Salad with Quinoa and Oranges

What do you do with leftover chicken? 
 I was thinking about that the other day because I had some. The best kind too, the kind leftover from when you make chicken soup. Chicken soup chicken is tender and soft and generally mild, at least as compared to a roasted or rotisserie chicken, which are more highly seasoned. The mild flavor means you can do a little more with it. 
 I had the chicken soup chicken left over from the soup I made for myself as a cure for the awful cold I had. I know there may be no scientific evidence for this, but I think chicken soup really does help when you have a cold. Mine took over a week to go away, and finally did, right after the soup. 
 Anyway, I had this chicken left over and I remembered that my Mom always made salad with those leftovers and she mixed the meat with celery and sometimes hard-cooked egg, and mayonnaise. On occasion, she would make chicken salad with chopped tart apple and chopped almonds. 
 Both very good. 
 But I made the salad below, mostly because I didn’t have enough chicken left to make a traditional chicken salad. The quinoa bulks it up, gives it a healthy touch. I also got the chance to use the mint that is growing so abundantly in my garden, plus some dill leftover from the bunch I bought for the chicken soup. 
 I added cut up oranges because citrus is so refreshing in a summer salad, looks good too (plus it has all that vitamin C), and I used orange juice (plus some lemon juice) instead of wine vinegar, for the dressing. 
 No mayo. 
 I also added blanched fresh peas, but any vegetable would do: cooked carrot, broccoli, asparagus and so on. You could also add some chopped cashews or dried cranberries. 
 Chicken Salad with Quinoa and Oranges 
 3/4 cup quinoa 
 1-2 oranges 
 1 cup cut up cooked chicken 
 1 cup blanched fresh peas (or use thawed frozen peas) 
 2 scallions, chopped 
 2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill 
 1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint 
 2 tablespoons olive oil 
 3-4 tablespoons orange juice 
 1 tablespoon lemon juice 
 salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste 
     
  Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Let drain. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the grains are tender.  Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the quinoa into a bowl to cool. Peel the orange(s) and remove as much of the white pith around the segments as possible. Cut the oranges into bites size pieces and add to the quinoa. Add the chicken, peas, scallions, dill and mint and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour the olive oil, orange juice and lemon juice into the salad and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes 4-6 servings

What do you do with leftover chicken?

I was thinking about that the other day because I had some. The best kind too, the kind leftover from when you make chicken soup. Chicken soup chicken is tender and soft and generally mild, at least as compared to a roasted or rotisserie chicken, which are more highly seasoned. The mild flavor means you can do a little more with it.

I had the chicken soup chicken left over from the soup I made for myself as a cure for the awful cold I had. I know there may be no scientific evidence for this, but I think chicken soup really does help when you have a cold. Mine took over a week to go away, and finally did, right after the soup.

Anyway, I had this chicken left over and I remembered that my Mom always made salad with those leftovers and she mixed the meat with celery and sometimes hard-cooked egg, and mayonnaise. On occasion, she would make chicken salad with chopped tart apple and chopped almonds.

Both very good.

But I made the salad below, mostly because I didn’t have enough chicken left to make a traditional chicken salad. The quinoa bulks it up, gives it a healthy touch. I also got the chance to use the mint that is growing so abundantly in my garden, plus some dill leftover from the bunch I bought for the chicken soup.

I added cut up oranges because citrus is so refreshing in a summer salad, looks good too (plus it has all that vitamin C), and I used orange juice (plus some lemon juice) instead of wine vinegar, for the dressing.

No mayo.

I also added blanched fresh peas, but any vegetable would do: cooked carrot, broccoli, asparagus and so on. You could also add some chopped cashews or dried cranberries.

Chicken Salad with Quinoa and Oranges

3/4 cup quinoa

1-2 oranges

1 cup cut up cooked chicken

1 cup blanched fresh peas (or use thawed frozen peas)

2 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1-1/2 tablespoons chopped fresh mint

2 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 tablespoons orange juice

1 tablespoon lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

 

Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Let drain. Bring 1 cup of water to a boil, add the quinoa, stir, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the grains are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the quinoa into a bowl to cool. Peel the orange(s) and remove as much of the white pith around the segments as possible. Cut the oranges into bites size pieces and add to the quinoa. Add the chicken, peas, scallions, dill and mint and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour the olive oil, orange juice and lemon juice into the salad and toss. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Let rest for at least 15 minutes before serving. Makes 4-6 servings

Sautéed Quinoa with Scallions and Mint

Passover, with all its dietary prohibitions, can create cooking issues. 
 Add another factor, like having to cook for someone who’s a vegan or is lactose-intolerant or who is allergic to nuts or other ingredients, and you really have to be creative about dinner. 
 My cousin Leslie had several guests at her Seder who had special dietary needs. One is her daughter-in-law who is vegan, gluten-intolerant, allergic to mushrooms and nuts and goodness knows what else. She couldn’t eat the matzo-ball soup, turkey, matzo stuffing with mushrooms, onions and celery or the honey-hazelnut macaroon tart.  
 It meant lots of extra cooking.  
 But sometimes preparing a dish for someone whose diet requires extra effort not only reaps rewards in the form of gratitude from the person you’re cooking for, but also because you might discover a dish that will appeal to everyone, so you can make more of it the next time, and cut out one that only a few can eat. 
 Consider this dish made with quinoa, which is fine for Passover and for nut-free, gluten-free, lactose-free vegan diets. 
 Sautéed Quinoa with Scallions and Mint 
 (photo from JoyofKosher.com) 
 1 cup quinoa 
 2 tablespoons olive oil 
 3-4 large scallions, chopped 
 1/4 cup chopped fresh mint 
 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel 
 salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste 
 Rinse the quinoa several times in a strainer. Place the quinoa and 1-1/2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a wok, stir-fry pan, or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook for 2–3 minutes or until they have softened. Return the quinoa to the pan and cook, stirring to distribute ingredients evenly. Sprinkle with the mint, lemon peel and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about one minute or until the ingredients are hot. Makes 4 servings.

Passover, with all its dietary prohibitions, can create cooking issues.

Add another factor, like having to cook for someone who’s a vegan or is lactose-intolerant or who is allergic to nuts or other ingredients, and you really have to be creative about dinner.

My cousin Leslie had several guests at her Seder who had special dietary needs. One is her daughter-in-law who is vegan, gluten-intolerant, allergic to mushrooms and nuts and goodness knows what else. She couldn’t eat the matzo-ball soup, turkey, matzo stuffing with mushrooms, onions and celery or the honey-hazelnut macaroon tart. 

It meant lots of extra cooking. 

But sometimes preparing a dish for someone whose diet requires extra effort not only reaps rewards in the form of gratitude from the person you’re cooking for, but also because you might discover a dish that will appeal to everyone, so you can make more of it the next time, and cut out one that only a few can eat.

Consider this dish made with quinoa, which is fine for Passover and for nut-free, gluten-free, lactose-free vegan diets.

Sautéed Quinoa with Scallions and Mint

(photo from JoyofKosher.com)

1 cup quinoa

2 tablespoons olive oil

3-4 large scallions, chopped

1/4 cup chopped fresh mint

2 teaspoons finely grated lemon peel

salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Rinse the quinoa several times in a strainer. Place the quinoa and 1-1/2 cups water in a saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Lower the heat, cover the pan, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the water has been absorbed. Set aside. Heat the olive oil in a wok, stir-fry pan, or sauté pan over medium heat. Add the scallions and cook for 2–3 minutes or until they have softened. Return the quinoa to the pan and cook, stirring to distribute ingredients evenly. Sprinkle with the mint, lemon peel and salt and pepper to taste. Cook for about one minute or until the ingredients are hot. Makes 4 servings.

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Tomatoes and Zucchini

Quinoa may be  au courant  but I predict this is no fleeting trend. It is here to stay, an ingredient that will remain a staple in American kitchens.  First because it is so nutritious — a complete protein, so you can cut down on or cut out meat-eating. In poor countries in South America, where this grain comes from, pregnant mothers who can’t afford meat are encouraged to eat quinoa.  Second, because it is widely available, relatively cheap and easy to cook: you boil some water or stock, add the grain, cover the pan and let it simmer for about 15 minutes and you’re done.  It’s also versatile. You can make it into salad, casseroles, stuffings and so on.  It tastes good too. A must for food!  And, as if all this wasn’t enough, you can use quinoa during Passover. Even though it is a grain.  It is not one of the prohibited grains.  That’s  big  for all who want to have a little something “starchy” with dinner during Passover and don’t want potatoes every day and don’t like the taste or consistency of Passover pasta products or who like variety in their diet.  Yesterday I gave a cooking demo for the UJA Federation of Greenwich Women’s Philanthropy and JCC Greenwich and prepared two Passover dishes, including Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Zucchini and Tomatoes. It was a big hit, no leftovers and everyone was amazed that the whole recipe took 17 minutes and it would have been shorter but we had to wait for the grains to cook.  This recipe is wonderfully fresh and Passover friendly. But you can enjoy it any time. Here it is:   Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Tomatoes and Zucchini   1 cup quinoa  1 cup cut up asparagus (1-inch pieces)  1 cup bite-size pieces of zucchini  1 cup halved cherry tomatoes  2 scallions, chopped  2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill  1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint  3 tablespoons olive oil  2 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice  salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste  Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse for a few seconds under cold water. Drain. Bring 1-1/2 cups water to boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the quinoa, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the grains have absorbed the liquid. Spoon the quinoa into a bowl. Bring some more water to a boil in the pan. Add the asparagus and cook for 15 seconds. Add the zucchini and cook for another 15 seconds. Strain the vegetables, rinse under cold water and add to the quinoa. Add the tomatoes, scallions, dill and mint and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the olive oil and vinegar, toss and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings

Quinoa may be au courant but I predict this is no fleeting trend. It is here to stay, an ingredient that will remain a staple in American kitchens.

First because it is so nutritious — a complete protein, so you can cut down on or cut out meat-eating. In poor countries in South America, where this grain comes from, pregnant mothers who can’t afford meat are encouraged to eat quinoa.

Second, because it is widely available, relatively cheap and easy to cook: you boil some water or stock, add the grain, cover the pan and let it simmer for about 15 minutes and you’re done.

It’s also versatile. You can make it into salad, casseroles, stuffings and so on.

It tastes good too. A must for food!

And, as if all this wasn’t enough, you can use quinoa during Passover. Even though it is a grain.

It is not one of the prohibited grains.

That’s big for all who want to have a little something “starchy” with dinner during Passover and don’t want potatoes every day and don’t like the taste or consistency of Passover pasta products or who like variety in their diet.

Yesterday I gave a cooking demo for the UJA Federation of Greenwich Women’s Philanthropy and JCC Greenwich and prepared two Passover dishes, including Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Zucchini and Tomatoes. It was a big hit, no leftovers and everyone was amazed that the whole recipe took 17 minutes and it would have been shorter but we had to wait for the grains to cook.

This recipe is wonderfully fresh and Passover friendly. But you can enjoy it any time. Here it is:

Quinoa Salad with Asparagus, Tomatoes and Zucchini

1 cup quinoa

1 cup cut up asparagus (1-inch pieces)

1 cup bite-size pieces of zucchini

1 cup halved cherry tomatoes

2 scallions, chopped

2 tablespoons chopped fresh dill

1 tablespoon chopped fresh mint

3 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoon white wine vinegar or lemon juice

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse for a few seconds under cold water. Drain. Bring 1-1/2 cups water to boil in a saucepan over high heat. Add the quinoa, lower the heat, cover the pan and simmer for about 15 minutes or until the grains have absorbed the liquid. Spoon the quinoa into a bowl. Bring some more water to a boil in the pan. Add the asparagus and cook for 15 seconds. Add the zucchini and cook for another 15 seconds. Strain the vegetables, rinse under cold water and add to the quinoa. Add the tomatoes, scallions, dill and mint and toss ingredients to distribute them evenly. Pour in the olive oil and vinegar, toss and taste. Add salt and pepper to taste. Let rest for 15 minutes before serving. Makes 6 servings

Quinoa Salad with Beans, Corn and Peppers

Last week I did a cooking demonstration for the Sisterhood of Temple Torat El, in Ocean Township, New Jersey. I prepared two salads from my book Hip Kosher, Quinoa with Beans, Corn and Peppers and Chopped Salad with Feta Cheese, Chickpeas and Zatar Vinaigrette.

Everyone saw how amazingly easy these salads were to make and how quickly it got done.

Some of the women had prepared the salads in advance so there would be enough for everyone to have a nibble after the demo. They also made Blueberry Crisp and Grand Finale cookies (also from the book). 

It was a feast. The salads they made looked beautiful and tasted dee-lish. 

Both salads are perfect for spring and summer. Not just easy, quick and tasty but also colorful and healthy, nice for dinner any day and also for company. Here’s the recipe for the quinoa salad:

Quinoa Salad with Beans, Corn and Peppers

1 cup quinoa

15 ounce can black beans, rinsed and drained

1 cup cherry or grape tomatoes, cut in half

1 cup thawed frozen corn kernels

1/2 small red bell pepper, cut into 1/4-inch pieces

3-4 scallions, chopped

1 small jalapeno pepper, deseeded and chopped, optional

3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat leaf parsley

6 tablespoons olive oil

3 tablespoons lime juice

2 tablespoons lemon juice

1 teaspoon ground cumin

salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste

Place the quinoa in a strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water. Let drain. Bring 1-1/2 cups water to a boil, add the quinoa, bring to a boil, stir, lower the heat and simmer, covered, for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the grains are tender. Remove the pan from the heat and spoon the quinoa into a bowl to cool. Add the beans, tomatoes, corn, bell pepper, scallions, jalapeno pepper and parsley. Toss ingredients gently. In another bowl, combine the olive oil, lime juice, lemon juice and cumin. Pour the dressing over the ingredients and toss gently. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Makes 4-6 servings