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  • Quick & Healthy Recipes: Quinoa Pilaf

    dsc024473Although quinoa is becoming more widely available, many people have never heard of this wonderful Incan supergrain.

    Additionally, most of those who are aware of its existence perceive it as a culinary challenge, citing unfamiliarity with cooking techniques as a barrier to including it in their meals.

    Alas, if you know how to boil water — and chop some vegetables — you can add fiber and protein-rich quinoa to your next dinner.

    This side dish recipe — a perfect accompaniment to a grilled or lightly pan-seared protein of choice — gets an A for taste and an A+ for (lack of) effort!

    If you’re looking to add some color to your plate, I recommend using red quinoa!

    YIELDS: 4 servings

    INGREDIENTS:

    • 1 cup dry quinoa
    • 2 cups water
    • Small sprinkle of salt
    • 1/4 cup minced garlic
    • 1/2 cup diced onions
    • 1/2 cup sliced mushrooms
    • 3/4 cup sliced red peppers
    • 1/2 cup sliced green peppers
    • 1/2 cup thinly sliced carrots
    • 4 Tablespoons lemon juice
    • 2 Tablespoons toasted sesame oil
    • 1/2 cup raw cashews (optional)
    • Spices of choice, to taste (recommended: cinnamon OR cumin OR powdered ginger)

    INSTRUCTIONS:

    In a medium-sized pot, combine quinoa, water, salt, garlic, onions, mushrooms, peppers, and carrots.

    With the pot uncovered, bring mix to a rolling boil.

    Once rolling boil is reached, lower heat to medium and cover pot.

    Once water has evaporated, turn off stovetop and remove pot from heat.

    Add lemon juice, sesame oil, and spices.  Stir thoroughly.

    Serve.  Once on plate, add cashews.

    NUTRITIONAL INFORMATION (per serving, with optional cashews):

    320 calories
    1.8 grams saturated fat
    180 milligrams sodium
    6 grams fiber
    9.5 grams protein

    Excellent Source of: Potassium, Vitamin A, Vitamin C,

    Good Source of: Fiber, Magnesium, Manganese

    PS: If you didn’t already know, I ONLY post recipes that I myself cook and enjoy savoring.

    The accompanying photo shows this very quinoa pilaf (bottom right, made with red quinoa) as part of my dinner last night.  The purple you see is some leftover red cabbage I decided to throw in.

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    4 Comments

    1. Lizzy said on May 22nd, 2009

      RED quinoa?! Now that I hadn’t heard of. Will definitely have to keep an eye out for some.

      And are those yams in the top right? Them and sweet potatoes have become a time-strapped uni student staple for me recently. Cheap, healthy, delicious, and requiring hardly more time than a bag of popcorn in the microwave. Can’t beat that.

    2. Andy Bellatti said on May 22nd, 2009

      Here in NYC, you can find red quinoa at Whole Foods, local health stores, and even conventional supermarket chains! It tastes just like — and does not cost one penny more than — standard quinoa.

      Those are indeed yams in the top right (oven-roasted with a sprinkle of sea salt). Aren’t they the best?

    3. Fernando Garcia said on May 22nd, 2009

      Glad to see another quinoa recipe — every one helps expose it to more folks. In the South and Texas, I’ve seen quinoa sold at H.E.B, Kroger (in their set-apart organic/health sections), Bloom, and Giant. I’d also recommend folks try barley, wheat berry, millet, and couscous instead of rice for a great change of flavors and textures.

    4. Andy Bellatti said on May 22nd, 2009

      I agree, Fernando — the more people are exposed to it, the more likely they are to try it. I am glad to see that quinoa is MUCH more mainstream now than it was just five years ago!

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