If you ask me what ingredients I always have handy I would say generically vegetables. And if you insist and want know more details, because in that category can fall dozens, hundreds of items, I may have to respond carrots. And lemons. But the last is a fruit, so that’s another category. Yet both are always present in my fridge. There is an awareness that if carrots or lemons are ending it’s time to go to the store. Certainly, many other ingredients are need to create a meal, you wouldn’t think I live only with carrots and lemons in the kitchen, right?
In my mind, I secondly visualize garlic and onions, maybe some tomato and any kind of green leaf and I would travel next to the pantry to find rice, pasta, some legumes and something a little different. Could be couscous or quinoa. This time I’ll go with quinoa, that grain-like crop grown for its edible seeds.
Quinoa is being an increasing trend around the foodie world since many food companies “re-discovered” this ancient ‘grain’ from the Inca culture. The Mother Grain, as it was called by this civilization, is not named like that for no reason: it contains more high quality protein than any other grain (stands alone as a complete protein grain, providing the essential amino acids), has no gluten, is light and easy to digest. It’s also easy to prepare and it’s perfect for soups, side dishes, salads or as a pilaf like the one I made here.
- 2 cups water
- 1 cup red quinoa
- 2 carrots, chopped
- 1 head fresh broccoli, cut into florets
- 1 cup green peas
- 1 tomato, chopped
- 1 sweet onion, chopped
- 6 cloves of garlic, chopped
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 Tbsp parsley flakes
- 1 Tbsp italian seasoning herbs
- 2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
- Lemon juice to drizzle on top
- Place 2 cups of water in a saucepan and bring to a boil.
- Add all the chopped vegetables, the green peas, salt, parsley and italian seasoning and let it boil again.
- Add 1 cup of red quinoa, reduce to simmer and cover the saucepan.
- After 10 minutes, add the broccoli florets and cover again.
- Cook until all water is absorbed (about 5 more minutes, totalizing 15 minutes after adding the quinoa). The grains should be soft and the red becomes translucent.
- Remove from the heat and add the olive oil.
- Serve warm or at room temperature with some lemon juice.