What’s all the fuss about quinoa?
Chefs, foodies, healthy eaters and home cooks are mixing it into everything from granola to sushi. Pronounced KEEN-wah, the grain-like seed is a star on the recipe scene, probably because it’s versatile, naturally gluten-free and super nutritious. In fact, the United Nations General Assembly has declared 2013 as the International Year of Quinoa. These appetizing options from Camilla Saulsbury’s cookbook, 500 Best Quinoa Recipes, showcase the seed that has sprouted a global following.
Broccoli, Chicken and Quinoa Stir-Fry
Makes four servings
This wonderful variation on fried rice is tied together by the hoisin sauce, which adds savoury sweetness and hints of five-spice seasoning.
2 tbsp toasted sesame oil, divided
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 red bell pepper, thinly sliced
3 cups small broccoli florets
3⁄4 cup reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth, Divided
1 lb boneless skinless chicken breasts, cut into thin strips
Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
1⁄2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups cooked quinoa, chilled
1⁄3 cup hoisin sauce
2 tbsp freshly squeezed lime juice
1. In a large, deep skillet, heat half the oil over medium-high heat. Add garlic and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add red pepper, broccoli and 1/4 cup of the broth; cover and cook for about three minutes or until vegetables are tender-crisp. Transfer vegetable mixture to a bowl.
2. Sprinkle chicken with salt and pepper. In the same skillet, heat the remaining oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and green onions; cook, stirring, for three to four minutes or until chicken is browned on all sides and no longer pink inside.
3. Return vegetable mixture to the pan, along with quinoa, hoisin sauce, lime juice and the remaining broth. Cook, stirring, for two minutes.
Make sure the quinoa is well chilled before adding it to the stir-fry. This ensures the grains do not clump together.
Quinoa Almond Butter Blondies
Makes 16 blondies
The brownie has legions of loyal fans, but the blondie has equally steadfast enthusiasts. The reasons are clearer than ever with this quinoa interpretation. It’s a chewy, nutty butterscotch bar that’s enriched with cashew butter and highly transportable to boot.
1 1⁄4 cups quinoa flour
1 tsp baking powder
1⁄2 tsp fine sea salt
1⁄2 cup unsweetened natural almond butter
1⁄4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 cup natural cane sugar or packed light brown sugar
1⁄2 cup brown rice syrup or pure maple syrup
2 large eggs
1 tsp vanilla extract
1. Preheat oven to 350°F, then spray an eight-inch square metal baking pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, baking powder and salt.
3. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer on medium speed, beat almond butter and butter until fluffy. Beat in sugar and brown rice syrup until blended. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in vanilla until smooth. Using a wooden spoon, stir in flour mixture until just blended.
4. Spread batter evenly in prepared pan.
5. Bake in preheated oven for 28 to 32 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out with a few moist crumbs attached. Let cool completely in pan on a wire rack. Cut into 16 squares.
Other natural nut or seed butters, such as peanut, almond or sunflower, may be used in place of the cashew butter. Tahini works too.
Store the cooled blondies in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to five days.