Quinoa is a Mediterranean ingredient staple, yet some people aren’t that familiar with red quinoa. Some info from Nuts.com:
“Red quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) was once called “the gold of the Incas” for increasing the stamina of Incan warriors. Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it an alternative to rice or couscous….Red quinoa lends vibrant color to recipes, although it has all the same nutrition of regular quinoa.”
And quinoa has some fairly high health benefits too:
“Red and white quinoa are nutritionally identical. Quinoa, the “mother grain,” is an extremely nutritious seed. It has a protein value that is extremely high (12-18%) and the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Because of this, it takes less quinoa protein to meet one’s protein need than wheat protein. Quinoa is easy to digest and naturally contains no gluten. It is also a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorous, magnesium, and iron.” (nuts.com)
Frankly, using quinoa in any recipe is difficult for me because it seems to make a mess in my kitchen. Some cooks say that about flour and yes, I can walk around the kitchen with flour all over me, my hair, shirt (even wearing an apron), fingers, shoes, etc. and it doesn’t bother me. But quinoa? I find it days later hiding in parts of the strainer where I rinsed it, or some other obscure place. To me it’s like taking a million grains of sand and throwing them all over the floor and trying to pick them up one by one. But don’t let that deter you from making this recipe. It’s probably just me. 🙂 I do like to eat it once it’s cooked!
So let’s see how red quinoa measures up in this recipe.
Vegetables chopped and ready to go!
Quinoa cooked and drained. I added some liquid back in later because I don’t like quinoa too chewy. Use your own taste preference.
You can remove ingredients at this stage of cooking. Veggies are at a slightly crispish point.
I let veggies cook a little longer and served warm. The feta cheese melted right after I took the picture.
Unfortunately the dish doesn’t look that appealing when it is fully cooked but it does have a great taste.
- 1 1/2 cup vegetable broth* (I used vegetable cubes see note below)
- 1/2 cup white wine
- 1 cup red quinoa
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 3 cups zucchini, chopped or cubed
- 3/4 cup onion, chopped
- 2 cloves garlic, chopped or minced
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper, coarsely ground
- 1 cup tomatoes, chopped
- 1 poblano pepper, chopped (optional)
- 4 cups fresh spinach, chopped
- 1/4 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- 1 tablespoon fresh oregano, chopped
- 1 leaf basil, chopped
- 1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
- Salt to taste
- Rinse quinoa in a fine strainer.
- Bring broth to a boil and add quinoa. Reduce heat and simmer covered for about 15-20 minutes (liquid should be absorbed). Strain any remaining liquid and set aside to add back if needed.
- In a large skillet heat oil over medium high heat. Add quinoa, stirring 2-4 minutes. Add in zucchini, onion, garlic, poblano pepper, and ground pepper - cook and stir for 3 minutes.
- Add tomatoes to pan and cook about 2 minutes until they start to soften.
- OPTION 1: Remove from heat. Add spinach, olives, oregano, and basil. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with feta and squeeze of lemon and drizzle of olive oil.
- OPTION 2: Continue cooking on simmer/low. Add spinach, olives, oregano, and basil. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with feta and remove from heat when feta starts to melt. Plate into bowl and squeeze of lemon and drizzle with olive oil.
- I make homemade vegetable cubes and reconstituted them. You can also substitute chicken broth if you don't need this to be a vegetarian meal.
- Add chunked chicken or grilled salmon if you wish.
- Calories 182
- Sodium 431mg
- Total Carbohydrate 19.2g
- Dietary Fiber 4.1g
- Total Sugars 6g
- Protein 7.7g
And just in case you are still reading, the reference in the title to “One Flew Over The …. (Cuckoo’s Nest)” was a play on words referring to Jack Nicholson’s movie filmed back in 1975. The Oregon State Mental Hospital located in Salem (about 25 miles from where we now live) was one of the filming locations for the movie.