Quinoa pronounced keen waa.
Italian Quinoa behaves like an oxymoron.
A seed often called a super-grain— this is one seed with a mistaken identity.
A seed—that looks like a grain, cooks like a grain, tastes like a grain, gluten free and full of fiber and rich in protein? The World Health Organization has rated “the quality of protein in quinoa at least equivalent to that in milk.”
Native to the Andes, quinoa sustained the ancient Incas, and has been cultivated continuously for more than 5,000 years. Now imported from South America or the mountains of Colorado. Mediterranean? Don’t even ask.
A delicious nutritious changeling adopted into the family of Super-Foods Italian Style.
And now is the time to make it, while the tomatoes, cucumbers and herbs are abundant in your garden, your family-friend-neighbor’s garden and the Farmer’s Market.
Mediterranean Quinoa With Fresh Garden Herbs
2 cups water or vegetable broth
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups grape tomatoes, cut in half lengthwise
1 medium red onion finely chopped
½ large cucumber, washed, cored and diced
1 cup pitted Kalamata olives
½ cup extra-virgin olive oil
½ cup fresh parsley coarse chop
½ cup fresh basil coarse chop
¼ cup fresh oregano coarse chop
3 cloves garlic chopped fine or pressed
1 lemon, juice and zest
1 teaspoon salt
ground fresh black pepper
Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in fresh water until it runs clear; to remove any powdery residue of bitter tasting chemical compound called saponin. Toast the rinsed quinoa in a dry skillet for five minutes before cooking to give it a delicious roasted flavor. To cook, use two parts liquid to one part quinoa. Combine the liquid and toasted quinoa in a medium saucepan, bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until the grains are translucent, about 15 minutes.
Meanwhile mash the garlic, salt and freshly ground pepper in the extra-virgin olive oil into a paste and macerate in a large bowl.
Add tomatoes, onions, cucumber.
Add parsley, basil, oregano, pitted Kalamata olives. Add cooked quinoa, sprinkle with fresh lemon juice and zest.
Let sit covered at room temperature until ready to serve. This salad can sit out the whole party…
But who would want to do that?
Not this changeling of the grain family!