Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Spiced Quinoa with Roasted Pumpkin Seeds

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is actually not grain but rather a seed. What makes it so wonderful is that it's a plant-based, complete protein meaning it contains all nine essential amino acids (the ones your body can't produce).  Yea, that's pretty cool.  One cup cooked gives you 8 grams of protein with just over 200 calories and about 3.5g fat.  For long time I wanted so badly to love this little protein-packed wonder seed, but everytime I cooked it I found it tastless and mushy.  Yuck.  So, I decided to try using less liquid and swapped broth for water, threw in spices, garlic, etc. and voila, I was converted.

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Makes about 3 cups


Olive oil or cooking spray
1/2 medium onion, finely diced
3 cloves garlic, minced or finely chopped
2 tsp red wine vinegar
1 tsp cumin
1 tsp smoked paprika
1 cup quinoa
2 cups vegetable broth (water can be substituted)
Salt and pepper to taste

Pepitas (already roasted pumpkin seeds) or regular raw pumpkin seeds
Chopped cilantro


Heat oil in a skillet.  Add onion and garlic with a pinch of salt and cook over medium low heat for 5 minutes or until onions are translucent.  Add vinegar, cumin, smoked paprika, quinoa; stir o combine everything and cook just a minute.  Add in broth and stir.  Turn heat up and bring to boil, then reduce to low and simmer covered 15-20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.  If there's still too much liquid, you can removed cover and cook a few minutes longer.  Garnish with pumpkin seeds and cilantro. Serve as a side dish, add beans to make it a main dish, or add to a wrap with veggies.

*To roast pumpkin seeds just lay on a baking sheet, spray with cooking oil, and bake at 350 for a few minutes until they start to turn golden.  I’ve never actually timed it but they always turn out ok.

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