Quinoa Pilaf with Cranberries and Almonds

Ingredients

  1. 1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
  2. 1 small red onion, chopped
  3. 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
  4. 2 cups low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
  5. 1/2 teaspoon salt
  6. 2/3 cup dried cranberries
  7. 2/3 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Method

Heat oil in a medium pot over medium high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring often, until just softened, 2 to 3 minutes. Add quinoa and toast, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Stir in broth and salt and bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes. Stir in cranberries, cover again and continue to cook until liquid is completely absorbed and quinoa is tender, 8 to 10 minutes more. Toss with almonds and serve.

Nutrition

Per serving (about 5oz/140g-wt.): 220 calories (80 from fat), 9g total fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 240mg sodium, 32g total carbohydrate (4g dietary fiber, 9g sugar), 6g protein

Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa Pilaf

Ingredients

1 Tbs. olive oil
1/2 onion, chopped
1 stalk celery, chopped
2 carrots, diced
1/2 C. quinoa
1 C. hot water or stock
1 bay leaf
1 Tbs. lemon zest
1 Tbs. lemon juice
1/2 C. frozen green peas, thawed
Ground black pepper to taste

Directions

Pour oil into a medium saucepan, and place over medium heat. Add onion, celery, and carrots; cook and stir for 10 minutes, or until vegetables are tender. Using a strainer, rinse quinoa under cold water. Drain well. Stir into the vegetables; cook and stir for 1 minute. Add water, bay leaf and lemon rind and juice; bring to boil. Cover, and reduce heat to medium low. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender.

Discard bay leaf. Stir in peas, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve.

Yield: 3 servings

vegetable quinoa pilaf

How To Cook Quinoa

Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to white rice or couscous.

Most boxed/pre-packaged quinoa has already been pre-rinsed for convenience, and cooking instructions therefore suggest only a brief rinse before cooking, if at all. If quinoa has not been pre-rinsed, the first step is to remove the saponins, a process that requires either soaking the grain in water for a few hours, then changing the water and resoaking, or rinsing the quinoa in ample running water for several minutes in either a fine strainer or a cheesecloth. Removal of the saponin helps with digestion; the soapy nature of the compound makes it act as a laxative.

Can you cook quinoa in a rice cooker?

  1. Using a fine mesh sieve rinse 1 cup of organic quinoa in cold water (unless it states on the box that you don’t need to rinse).
  2. Dump rinsed quinoa into your rice cooker.
  3. Add 2 cups fresh water
  4. Turn on your rice cooker
That’s it. In about fifteen minutes you’ll have hot fluffy quinoa to play with.
Quinoa is rather bland on its own and loves flavor spikes.  So add herbs etc. My favorite thing to do is stir-fry cooked quinoa with various seasonings- herbs, garlic, spices, onion, etc. I add in fresh veggies and whatever else I might have on hand.
Quinoa makes delicious and hearty pilaf, sprightly salads, or a warm and grainy side dish in place of rice. I’ve even used it to stuff cabbage, acorn squash, peppers and portobello mushroom caps.

For those of you without a rice cooker: 

Add the cup of rinsed organic quinoa to a saucepan; add 2 cups fresh water; bring to a boil, lower the heat to low; cover and simmer until cooked. Fluff with a fork.

Season while warm and use in salads or stuffing recipes, Store covered, in the fridge, for almost instant meals. Use within three days for best taste.

Vegetables and seasonings can also be added to make a wide range of dishes. Chicken or vegetable stock can be substituted for water during cooking, adding flavor. It is also suited to vegetable pilafs, complementing bitter greens like kale.

Quinoa can serve as a high-protein breakfast food mixed with honey, almonds, or berries; it is also sold as a dry product, much like corn flakes. Quinoa flour can be used in wheat-based and gluten-free baking.

Quinoa may be germinated in its raw form to boost its nutritional value. Germination activates its natural enzymes and multiplies its vitamin content. In fact, quinoa has a notably short germination period: Only 2–4 hours resting in a glass of clean water is enough to make it sprout and release gases, as opposed to, e.g., 12 hours with wheat.This process, besides its nutritional enhancements, softens the grains, making them suitable to be added to salads and other cold foods.

Ref: Wikipedia;GlutenFreeGoddess

The Health Benefits of Quinoa

Quinoa Nutrition

Quinoa not only has a high protein content, but also is one of the only grain that contains all the 8 essential amino acids, making it a great vegetarian protein source. It is particularly high in the amino acid lysine. It also has a very low glycemic index (GI), making it a source of slow releasing carbohydrate. It is a good source of the B vitamins thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin B 6 and folic acid. It is rich in minerals iron, magnesium, manganese, iron, phosphorus copper and zinc.

Quinoa for Heart Disease Prevention

Quinoa is a good source of the cholesterol lowering B vitamin niacin and the blood pressure lowering mineral magnesium. Wholegrains, like quinoa are a good source of fibre. A meta-analysis of 7 studies showed that people with the highest dietary fibre intake had the lowest cardiovascular risk.

Quinoa for Diabetes Prevention

The mineral magnesium forms part of the glucose-regulating compound (known as glucose tolerance factor), along with chromium and vanadium, which are also found in wholegrains. Studies have shown that regular consumption of wholegrains lowers Type 2 diabetes risk. In one 8-year trial of over 40,000 subjects, risk of Type 2 diabetes was found to be 30% lower in women who frequently consumed wholegrains compared to those who ate the least of these foods. The low GI of quinoa helps to create a more sustained release of glucose into the bloodstream, which prevents sugar spikes and puts less stress on the pancreas that needs to pump out less insulin to deal with the glucose load.

Quinoa and Cancer Prevention

Wholegrain compounds in quinoa may help with cancer prevention. A study of over 35,000 participants showed that those consuming the most wholegrains had a significant reduction in breast cancer risk compared to those with low wholegrain intakes. The main reasons for wholegrains offering protection have to do with their high fibre content as well as their high nutrient and antioxidant content. In addition, wholegrains contain special compound called lignans, which are converted by good bacteria in the gut into useful substance that can help prevent cancer.

Quinoa for Digestive Health

Another of the health benefits of quinoa is its ability to aid digestive health. Wholegrains are a rich source of insoluble fibre, which increases stool bulk and decreases the transit time of waste through the intestines. Oats also contain soluble fibre, which holds water and improves stool consistency.

Quinoa For Allergy Prevention

Quinoa is both wheat and gluten free making it a safe alternative to pastas for allergy sufferers. It is gentle on the system and very unlikely to cause adverse reactions.

Quinoa for a Healthy Pregnancy

Quinoa is a good source of folate (folic acid), with one cup containing half of the daily value. Folate has been shown to help prevent neural tube defects in newborns and is an essential part of any healthy pregnancy diet.

Quinoa the Everyday Superfood

Quinoa the Everyday SuperfoodQuinoa, pronounced “Keen-wah”, is a goosefoot species,miracle grain-like crop. It is native to South America and was first domesticated almost 6,000 years ago in the Andes. I call it a miracle crop for a reason. Among many other nutritional values, it’s protein content is very high (12%-18%). Unlike wheat or rice, and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans. Because of these characteristics quinoa is a complete protein source, unusual among plant foods. It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest.If it sounds took good to be true; it’s not. And best of all, it has a wonderful nutty flavor and cooks up nice and fluffy making it a perfect substitution for white rice or couscous.

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