- Course: Side Dish
- Skill Level: Easy
- Cost: Inexpensive
- Favorited: 15 Times
Protein-rich quinoa is an ancient grain that is gaining popularity, especially with vegetarians and people on gluten-free diets. If it’s not rinsed well before cooking, quinoa can taste bitter (rinsing removes a natural, bitter coating called saponin, which protects the plant from birds, who hate the taste). There was a time when The Meal Makeover Moms hated the taste too (talk about “picky”)! Thanks to a note we posted on our Facebook page asking for favorite quinoa recipes and preparation tips (like the importance of rinsing quinoa really well), our quinoa karma has improved considerably. Drawing from our fans’ ideas, we created this delicious recipe, packed with bright colors, crunchy textures, and sweet flavors.
- 1 cup quinoa
- All-natural vegetable broth (see tip below for amount)
- ½ small red bell pepper, cut into ¼-inch dice (½ cup)
- 1/3 cup toasted sliced almonds
- 1/3 cup dried apricots, coarsely chopped or golden raisins
- 2 tablespoons thinly sliced scallions, optional
- ¾ teaspoon ground cumin
- ½ teaspoon kosher salt
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 tablespoon honey
- Freshly ground black pepper
1. Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer and rinse several times in cold water. Drain well and set aside.
2. In a medium saucepan, bring the broth to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and cook according to package directions until the liquid is absorbed.
3. Transfer to a large bowl and fluff gently with a fork every few minutes until the grains cool.
4. Stir in the bell pepper, almonds, apricots, scallions as desired, cumin, and salt until well combined. Whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, and honey in a small bowl until well blended. Stir into the quinoa mixture until well coated with the dressing. Season with additional salt and pepper to taste.
The amount of broth needed and the cooking time will vary depending on your quinoa product. Read package directions for the suggested amount of liquid (it may range from 1¼ cups to 2 cups liquid per 1 cup quinoa). As a rule, we tend to cook the quinoa in the liquid 2 to 3 minutes longer than suggested, and then we let it stand 5 to 10 minutes until the quinoa fully absorbs all the liquid.
The major kid appeal of this recipe for my boys was the color. I particularly loved the honey-lemon flavor of the dressing and the combination of spices.
Lorraine, mother of Stefan, age 16 and Brian, age 20. Metuchen, NJ
© 2011 Liz Weiss and Janice Newell Bissex
Per Serving (about 1 cup):
240 calories, 8g fat (0.5g saturated), 250mg sodium, 36g carbohydrate, 4g fiber, 7g protein, 15% vitamin A, 35% vitamin C, 15% iron