Meatless Monday’s – Quinoa as the Superstar and Superfood

Quinoa A question that I always get when I note that I rarely eat meat, ?where and how do you get your protein? in your diet without meat?  I get my proteins from many sources and one that I have...

Quinoa
Quinoa
A question that I always get when I note that I rarely eat meat, ?where and how do you get your protein? in your diet without meat?  I get my proteins from many sources and one that I have come to love is Quinoa.     Quinoa has been called a ?superfood? with a high protein content, but still not as high as most beans and legumes. Nutritional evaluations of quinoa indicate that it is a source of complete protein as it is an excellent source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, iron and calcium.  If you have not yet met quinoa. I would like to host an introduction.
Variety of  Quinoa in Red, White and Black
Variety of Quinoa in Red, White and Black
  I use the colored varieties of quinoa depending on the dish I am creating.  I tend to have the largest supply of the white quinoa on hand at any time in my kitchen.   When I cook my quinoa, I try to infuse flavors so often begin with homemade stock over water as the liquid. I love this bed of grains for my roasted vegetables or tomatoes as I noted a few weeks ago. A very unusual preparation of Quinoa is a Skillet dish that I have come to love.  I especially like the versatility of this dish as it is great warm and it takes on a very different flavor and is also excellent served cold the next day!  One of my favorite meals starts with either Black Bean Soup, or my famous Black Bean Cakes. This Skillet treat is a great side to serve.
Skillet Quinoa with Corn and Jalapeño -- Adapted from Noble Pig recipe
Ingredients:
  • 1 cup dry quinoa (cooked in vegetable stock according to package directions)
  • 1 ?  1½  tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 8 ounces of Frozen Roasted Corn  (Sold as 16 oz, so you will need about ½ bag) Trader Joe?s has an excellent variety!
  • 1 jalapeño pepper seeded, deveined and chopped
  • 3 - 4 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 large white onion, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • ½ teaspoon smoked paprika
  • ½ teaspoon paprika
  • ¼ teaspoon kosher salt ? If your broth is not low sodium, wait on adding salt until the end.
  • zest and juice of one lime
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
Directions:
  1. Prepare 1 cup of dry quinoa according to package directions. You will want a very dry Quinoa for this dish.  Use vegetable stock to infuse more flavor. ( Homemade or Better than Bouillon Vegetable base Reduced sodium suggested.) Set aside prepared quinoa.
  2. In a large cast iron skillet over medium-high heat, jalapeno and onion in olive oil until softened; about 5 minutes.
  3. Then add garlic, sauté for an additional 5 minutes.  Add cumin, smoked paprika and paprika and salt, stirring until fully incorporated.
  4. Then add in the frozen grilled corn.
  5. Add prepared quinoa and let it brown, stirring only occasionally over a 15 minute period.  Do not skimp on this step!  You do want to dry-out this seed and add a new level of crunch to this dish.
  6. Turn off heat and stir in lime zest and juice. Let quinoa sit in the hot pan (do not stir) while you continue to make dinner, about 10 minutes more. It will continue to crisp and you will have bits of crunchy quinoa which is a nice textural change.
Garnish with chopped cilantro. Excellent warm or cold! What is your favorite preparation of Quinoa?