I like quinoa. I like it a lot. I use it as a rice substitute, and tonight it was the base of a simple risotto. This can be made with any number of ingredients, made to be vegetarian or meatatarian or whatever comes to mind. If you’ve never tried quinoa or are unfamiliar, it is high in protein and very versatile. Tonight’s quinoa creation was a side dish, though you could easily make it a main, and had the following list of ingredients:
1.5 cups quinoa
3 cups of broth (I used chicken)
1/4 cup white wine
1 can artichoke heats, quartered
2 cups fresh spinach
3 tablespoons olive oil
salt to taste
1/4 cup Parmesan
1 pad of butter
1 cup toasted pine nuts
I sauteed the shallots in the olive oil until they were relatively soft and then added the quinoa and let it cook for about 2 minutes in the oil on medium heat, stirring occasionally. Add artichoke hearts.
Add the wine and a little salt and let the wine cook down for several minutes. Once wine is mostly absorbed, start adding the broth a little at a time. The idea is to add some broth, stir often, allow it to be absorbed and then add some more. Once the quinoa has softened – takes about 20~25 minutes – add the spinach and stir to combine so the spinach can wilt. Cook for another minute or two, add pine nuts, butter and cheese, cook for 1 more minute, and then you are done.
I served this with a simple roasted chicken and it was really good with a little chicken gravy intermingling with the flavors. I’ve made this previously with a mix of mushrooms which worked well, and I imagine it would be great with asparagus, broccoli or even butternut squash flavors.
I purposely made extra quinoa, this recipe makes enough for probably 5 side servings, because I like to make quinoa “cakes” with the leftovers (you can do this also with traditional risotto made with rice which is leftover). Basically you take the day-old leftovers, add an egg, mix, and form into little cakes (2 or so inches wide and about 1/2 inch thick). heat up a little olive oil in a pan under medium-high heat and then fry them babies up ! Probably takes about 4 minutes or so on each side for it to get golden brown and crunchy. These make a great snack or side dish,