I fell in love with quinoa when I visited Buenos Aires, of all places. The beef was great, as I expected, but the upscale restaurants were serving grilled seafood accompanied by simple quinoa – cooked in water and minimally flavored.
Quinoa is technically a seed, but we cook it and serve it as a grain. It has a pleasantly chewy texture and a rich, nutty flavor that requires very little added flavoring – in fact, I like mine best cooked in salted water, with just a drizzle of olive oil.
Most recipes say to cook 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups water, but I find this ratio produces mushy quinoa, so I use just 1.5 cups water per each cup of quinoa.
Quinoa is one of those foods that you either love or hate, so if you try it and dislike it don’t be alarmed – you’re not alone! While three of us love quinoa, one of us refuses to touch it.
The following recipe is very simple – simply cook the quinoa in salted water, then, when still hot, mix with a dressing of olive oil, garlic, black pepper, basil and cilantro. I find that when it comes to quinoa simple is best – you want to highlight the taste of the grain, not to overshadow it.
Makes 4 servings
Total time: 20 minutes
Prep: 5 minutes
Cook: 15 minutes
1 cup uncooked quinoa
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh basil
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh cilantro
1. Rinse quinoa in a fine-meshed strainer. This gets rid of a bitter coating that helps the quinoa repel insects in the field, but that we don’t want to taste!
2. Place quinoa, water and salt in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil over high heat.Lower heat to medium-low and cook 15-17 minutes, until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender.
3. Meanwhile, whisk together olive oil, garlic and pepper in a small bowl.
4. When quinoa is done, remove from heat. Transfer to a serving bowl, fluff with a fork, add the dressing and the herbs and mix. Serve immediately.
Nutrition per serving
Total Fat 9.6 g
Saturated Fat 0.9 g
Cholesterol 0.0 mg
Sodium 292.0 mg
Total Carbohydrate 31.5 g
Dietary Fiber 3.2 g
Sugars 3.0 g
Protein 6.1 g
Weight Watchers Points Plus: 6 points