Today's Superfood: Quinoa
Protein, iron, manganese, magnesium, folate, phosphorus
Erika says: I can't wait to make this delicious quinoa pilaf from Rashmi Nigam. Rashmi started Yumkid.com to chronicle her experiences feeding her children healthy, flavorful meals.
"How are you doing on rice? How often are you eating it now?” are questions my doctor always asks. After hearing my response she always says, “You know you need to cut rice down or the ‘insulin storage bins’ along with belly fat will never go away. ” My response has always been “It is my comfort food! Asking me to give up rice is like asking an Italian to give up pasta!”
Over the years I have cut down my consumption of white rice both in terms of frequency and quantity. I now eat it once every other day instead of at every meal. That’s been a big adjustment for me. I struggled because I love my Indian lentils and curries and they taste PERFECT with white rice. There’s something soulful about eating ‘dal-chawal’ (lentils and rice) as the Indian folks say it.
This struggle became easier a few months ago when I started adding quinoa to my diet. Quinoa is high in protein, calcium, and iron, and is a great source of omega acids. The first time I made quinoa, it was a disaster. I didn’t wash it properly and it tasted so soapy. Yes, definitely wash your quinoa properly to remove the saponin, a resin-like substance that is extremely bitter. After several attempts, I have come to embrace quinoa in our home.
This recipe is one of my favorite ways to eat quinoa. I love the green color of this healthy dish! It is perfect for any meal, and a great addition to your school lunch repertoire. It is mildly fragrant but full of flavor. Both the quinoa and the vegetables are crunchy. It is my family’s favorite way to eat quinoa!
Click here to see all the recipes in this Superfoods Month series
Veggie cilantro mint quinoa pilaf
A tasty, healthy mix of vegetables and quinoa with Indian spices. Cilantro and mint add bright, fresh notes.
- 1/2 cup cilantro leaves (stems included)
- 1/2 cup fresh mint leaves
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/2-inch piece fresh ginger
- 3 clove
- 3 green cardamom pods
- 1 inch cinnamon stick
- 4 Tbsp grapeseed or canola oil, divided
- 2 red onions, peeled and thinly sliced
- 1 green chili, whole (jalapeno, serrano, etc.)
- 2 bay leaves
- 2 black peppercorns
- 2 cups mixed frozen vegetables (e.g. edamame, carrots, peas, corn, carrots)
- 2 cups quinoa, cooked according to package directions (about 1/2 cup dry)
- 1 tsp salt (or to taste)
Make the green paste by combining the cilantro, mint, garlic, ginger, 1 clove, 2 cardamom pods and cinnamon stick in the food processor. Grind the ingredients to a paste.Heat 2 Tbsp of oil in a skillet over medium-high heat. Add about 3/4 of the sliced onions and saute until they are browned. Set aside.In a large skillet or wok, heat the remaining 2 Tbsp oil. Add the remaining onions, chile, bay leaves, peppercorns, remaining 2 cloves and remaining 1 cardamom pod and saute about 2 minutes, until the onions are translucent. Add the green paste and saute another 2 minutes.Add the frozen vegetables to the pan and cook 2-3 minutes until they are warmed through. Add the cooked quinoa and the salt, stirring to make sure the grains are coated with the green paste. Taste and add more salt if needed.Remove the bay leaves and, if you wish, the cloves, peppercorns and cardamom pods. Turn the pilaf into a serving dish and garnish with the caramelized onions. Serve immediately.
DetailsPrep time: Cook time: Total time: Yield: 4 servings