Quinoa is a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium). According to Wikapedia, “it is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach and tumbleweeds.” Who knew? Quinoa is a complete protein. It’s high in calcium, phosphorus and iron as well as being high in protein, low in fat, and gluten-free. It’s about as close to a perfect food as one can get. Really, we should all be eating quinoa all the time, every day. Chef Anne is convinced that the method of cooking described here (first par-boiling and then steaming) produces the most perfect, nutty, chewy quinoa – ever. Give it a try and let me know what you think.
Red Quinoa with Roasted Garlic Herb Vinaigrette (makes 3 cups)
- 1 ½ cups Red Quinoa
- 2 tablespoons chives, chopped
- 1 whole head of garlic, top sliced off
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
- ¼ cup sherry vinegar
- ½ cup extra virgin olive oil
- ¼ teaspoon smoked paprika
- 3 large fresh basil leaves
- 1 teaspoon salt
Heat water in a medium saucepan to boiling. Add 1 teaspoon salt. Add quinoa, reduce heat to a fast simmer and allow to simmer uncovered 10-12 minutes. The kernels should just start to separate. Drain but save the cooking liquid. Place quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Place back over the cooking liquid in the medium saucepan and steam the quinoa (tightly covered) for an additional 10-12 minutes.
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Place garlic in center of tinfoil square. Pour olive oil over the garlic. Sprinkle lightly with salt and pepper and dried herbs (if desired). Tightly close the foil. Place garlic in oven and roast for 50 minutes. Allow to cool slightly. Remove roasted cloves from skins. Place roasted garlic cloves in blender. Add mustard, vinegar, olive oil, paprika and basil. Process until smooth. Add salt to taste.
Toss the cooked quinoa with the chopped chives and ¼ cup dressing. Taste. You might want to add a little additional salt. We added another teaspoon, and a hint of freshly ground black pepper. You can add more dressing if you’re a dressing-aholic (this addiction need not be admitted to in mixed company).
You can let this sit overnight in the fridge and it will improve – or if you can’t wait, eat it immediately.