I have never heard of quinoa until I met Diane Carlson a few years back. Diane is the wonderful chef behind the Conscious Gourmet culinary retreats and one of the founders of the Natural Gourmet Institute in NYC.
I took one of these culinary retreats once when they were still offered in Florida and it was one of the most wonderful experiences of my life. I still carry with me recipes and friendships from that retreat. And at that retreat was where I learned I could use a blog to share my recipes with all of you. So many good things came about from that retreat. I am thankful…
But this is not my recipe… This quinoa recipe is Diane’s recipe that has become my way of making quinoa ever since. I have made some tweaks to it by all the times I have made it, but I can’t take full credit for it. Diane taught me how to make quinoa and she should get the credit.
Now quinoa is all the rage. I hear its super popular way west in California. And us at the yoga center make it a lot too. The first time I bought quinoa was at Whole Foods right after finishing the retreat because I thought I would not be able to find it here in Puerto Rico. Now, I can buy it at Costco in 3 lbs bags. How things change, no??
1 cup quinoa, rinsed under cold water and drained well 1 ¾ cup vegetable broth ½ tsp salt 2 tbs olive oil 1 small onion, chopped finely 1 carrot, peeled and cut into very small pieces 1 rib of celery, chopped finely ½ red bell pepper, chopped finely ½ green bell pepper, chopped finely ½ cup peas, frozen works fine Salt and Pepper to taste ¼ cup of chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley
- In a large pot, toast quinoa over medium-hi heat. Stir it occasionally until the grain is nearly dry. Then, stir constantly about 5 minutes more until it browns evenly and gets a nutty fragrance.
- Add the vegetable broth to the pot of quinoa. Add ½ tsp of salt and bring the pot to a boil. Once it starts boiling, lower the heat to simmer, cover and cook until quinoa is tender. That will take about 15-20 minutes.
- In the meantime, in a large skillet over medium-hi heat add the olive oil and the onions. When the onions have softened a bit, add the carrots and cook for a few more minutes. Add the celery, peppers and peas. Sauté for a few minutes until veggies are cooked tender but still somewhat crisp.
- By now the quinoa will be cooked. Add the vegetables to the pot of quinoa and mix well. Stir in parsley. Serve immediately.
I love making quinoa because it’s a grain full of protein and nutrients and it’s very easy to make. This is the basic pilaf recipe I learned to make, but I have made this with many other combinations of veggies. Just like rice, it’s a great vehicle to use those little odds and ends you have in your fridge… go crazy and tell me what’s your favorite combination.