Tuesday, June 26, 2007

-Sweet on Quinoa-

I have always been a fan of couscous, but until just recently, I've been in the dark about quinoa. Man, was I missing out. I now understand why the Incas believed it to be sacred and called it "chisaya mama" or "mother of all grains." It's healthy and versatile, working well with both sweet and savory flavors and I just found out that you can toast quinoa, much as you would sesame seeds. I will have to try that one in the future. I decided to go the sweet route with this batch, as I was pairing it with my Jammin' Jamaican Tofu, so I emptied out my cabinets and came up with a sweet side for any meal. With food so good and weather so hot, I thought I'd died and gone to island heaven.

*Sweet on Quinoa*

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 2 TBSP vanilla soy milk
  • 1/2 cup baby carrots, sliced
  • 1 small yellow onion, diced
  • thumb-sized piece of ginger root, grated
  • 1/2 cup dried currants
  • 1/2 cup dried apricots
  • 1-2 TBSP cinnamon (as desired)
  • 1/2 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/2 tsp cumin
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract (If you can find Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla Extract, it's worth the bit extra.)
  • 1 TBSP sesame seeds (as garnish)
  • salt (pinch)
  • 1/2-1 tsp dried parsley (as garnish)
  • 2 TBSP Earth Balance
  • 1-2 TBSP agave nectar (Maple syrup could be substituted here, but I like agave nectar because it tastes great and has an extremely low glycemic index of 19.)

Boil 2 cups water. Add quinoa, stir, cover and reduce heat to medium. Cook for 5 minutes. Add apricots, currants and ginger. Stir well, re-cover and cook for approximately 8 minutes. While quinoa is cooking, heat small fry pan on medium heat and add Earth Balance. When Earth Balance has melted, add carrots and onions and cook until nearly tender. Add vanilla, cinnamon, nutmeg, cumin, salt and agave nectar. Stir and cook until carrots are tender. Add contents of pan to quinoa. Add vanilla soy milk and stir well. Cook for about 2 more minutes or until quinoa is fully cooked and soy milk is absorbed. Transfer quinoa to serving dish and sprinkle with sesame seeds and parsley. Serve hot with your favorite entree, or chill and enjoy as a cold salad. :)

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