There’s a new superfood on the block, and no one seems to know whether to call it a seed or a grain, but quinoa (pronounced keenwa) is being hailed as a nutrient-dense complete protein, which is a rarity in the plant world. Besides that, it’s very versatile and it’s also very tasty.
With its sudden rise to fame, it’s no surprise that home economist and cookbook author Mairlyn Smith has pulled together her home economist colleagues to collaborate on 120 recipes for vegetarians, using quinoa, called The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook, published by Whitecap Books.
From breakfast to dessert, they have covered all the culinary bases in this book, which is full of information as well as delicious-looking recipes for this nutritious little gem.
In addition, celiacs will be glad to know that quinoa is gluten-free, so there are quite a number of gluten-free recipes in this book.
Mouth-watering photography and yummy-looking recipes make this a book to pick up if you’re interested in this new superfood.
It’s available locally at Mosaic Books, along with my book, Jude’s Kitchen, both of which would make great gifts, if not something to add to your own collection.
Incidentally, congratulations to local chef Mark Filatow of Waterfront Restaurant and Wine Bar, who brought home the gold medal against top Vancouver and Okanagan chefs and who will now compete against top chefs from across the country here in Kelowna, at the Canadian Culinary Championships in February.
Mexi Meatless Shepherd’s Pie
Because of quinoa’s status as a complete plant protein, this makes a complete meal, nutritionally.
2 lb. (1 kg.) sweet potatoes
1 tbsp. (15 ml) canola oil
1 onion, chopped
1 red pepper, diced
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 tsp. (10 ml) ground cumin
19 oz. (540 ml) black beans, no salt added
1 c. (250 ml) cooked quinoa, made with water
1 c. (250 ml) frozen corn
1 c. (250 ml) salsa
1/4 c. (60 ml) light sour cream
1/4 c.(60 ml) finely chopped cilantro
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) black pepper
1/4 c. (60 ml) thinly-sliced green onion
Scrub sweet potatoes and pierce all over with a fork. Rinse black beans well and drain them. Prepare quinoa. (Rinse 1/3 cup quinoa and combine with 2/3 of a cup of water in a pot with a fitted lid. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes.)
Pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Bake the sweet potatoes for an hour, or until tender. Or, microwave at high for eight to 10 minutes. Cool until easy to handle.
Lightly grease an 8-cup baking dish with oil or line it with wet parchment paper. Set aside.
In a large soup pot or Dutch oven, heat the oil over medium heat. Add the onion, red pepper, garlic and cumin. Cook, stirring often, for five to seven minutes. Stir in the black beans, cooked quinoa, corn and salsa until well combined. Remove from heat.
Pour into the prepared pan. If you used a microwave to cook the sweet potatoes, at this point pre-heat the oven to 350 F.
Meanwhile, cut the cooled sweet potatoes in half and scrape out the flesh. Discard the skins. Mash the sweet potato well with the sour cream. Stir in the cilantro. Season with pepper, if desired.
For a rustic look, spoon the sweet potato mixture over the quinoa mixture in heaping teaspoonfuls. Otherwise, spoon it on and spread it out.
Bake for 30 minutes, or until heated through and bubbly. Sprinkle the top of the casserole with green onion or chopped cilantro to garnish.
Makes 6 cups.
Quinoa with Cumin-scented Sweet Potatoes
This is a nice easy main dish or side dish that can be partly prepared ahead of time and it’s full of delicious flavours. Don’t neglect the sprinkle of lemon juice at the end. I used yams instead of sweet potatoes. Recipe creator and home economist Jennifer MacKenzie says any recipe that combines sweet potatoes and quinoa is a health and flavour winner.
Try pairing this with the White Bear 2011 Riesling, with its ripe fruit flavours with a refreshing hint of citrus. Very smooth and good value too.
1 1/2 lb. (750 g) sweet potato
2 tbsp. (30 ml) olive oil
1 1/2 tsp. (7 ml) ground cumin
1 tsp. (5 ml) ground coriander
1/4 tsp. (1 ml) black pepper
1 c. (250 ml) quinoa
1 3/4 c. (435 ml) vegetable broth
2 tbsp. (30 ml) fresh lemon or lime juice
2 tbsp. (30 ml) coarsely-chopped almonds
1/4 c. (60 ml) chopped fresh cilantro
Pre-heat the oven to 450 F.
Line a rimmed baking sheet with foil or parchment paper
Peel and cut sweet potato into 1/2-inch cubes.
Combine the sweet potatoes, oil, cumin, coriander and pepper on the prepared baking sheet, spread in a single layer, and roast for about 20 minutes, stirring once or twice. Remove when the sweet potatoes are golden brown on the outside and tender inside.
Meanwhile, put the quinoa in a large pot, add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, covered, for 15 to 20 minutes, or until the quinoa is translucent and most of the liquid has been absorbed.
Fluff with a fork, remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for five minutes.
Gently fold the sweet potato and lemon juice into the cooked quinoa. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
Serve sprinkled with the almonds and cilantro.
Makes about 6 cups.