Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Orange-Scented Quinoa

My friend, Emily, kindly invited me over for dinner tonight so that we wouldn't have to spend money on going out. I decided to contribute with a side dish - Orange-Scented Quinoa.

Last winter, I bought an issue of Clean Eating, which is a magazine featuring...clean eating. :) It's all about eating foods in their most natural state - or close to it as possible - so that you can be healthy AND green!

For a little less than a year, I've been more focused on eating whole foods and avoiding food with additives and gross stuff. I rarely eat processed foods now, except on special occasions, and I try not to eat meat. The lifestyle has really changed the way I think about food and my body because it makes me feel really clean inside and I don't want to put junk into my body! It's important to me to take care of myself by eating well and exercising moderately because not only will it help me live longer (so I can blog F.O.R.E.V.E.R.) but it really gives me more energy to do the things that make me happy! Of course, as you can read in previous entries, I do indulge quite often but I don't beat myself up over it. It's all about the balance!

Anyway, I digress. So I picked up this magazine, not really knowing what I was in for, and I have since made at least 4 recipes from it. And while "clean eating" sounds kinda weird, all of the recipes have been delicious! The side dish I made for dinner tonight was equally yummy.

In true Shion-fashion (ps - if you take the "fa" out of "fashion", you get "shion").

Anyway, in true Shion-fashion, I modified the recipe and used ingredients that I already had...

Ingredients:
  • 1 3/4 cups organice, reduced-sodium chicken brother (I actually just used salt water)
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 1/4 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice (juice of a medium-sized orange)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/4 cup parsley, chopped
For those of you unfamiliar with quinoa, it is a s a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds.

It's a pseudo-cereal (they're seeds) and closely related to species such as beets, spinach and tumbleweeds. It smells a little bitter but tastes delicious! Well...depending on how you flavor it. It's also chock full of protein. I buy mine in bulk at Whole Foods. I believe the label is a bit misleading because it's not really a true grain...



Directions:



In a 3-qt saucepan, bring broth (or water) to a boil. Add orange juice and quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover and cook until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. The recipe said it would take about 10-15 minutes but it took me more like 20-25 minutes for all of the liquid to absorb. (Note: Fluff quinoa with a fork before adding remaining ingredients)


While quinoa cooks, soak cranberries in 1 cup hot water until softened, about 5 minutes. I used the measuring cup I used for the freshly-squeezed orange juice so that the cranberries absorbed a little of that as well.


Remove cranberries from water and squeeze away excess liquid. Discard soaking water and chop cranberries finely.


Chop up parsley and walnuts as well. The original recipe called for pecans so you can substitute that for walnuts if you'd like. I imagine if you had slivered almonds, you can put those in there, too. Any nut will do!



Gently stir cranberries, walnuts and parsley into fluffed quinoa.


The original recipe also said to add shredded turkey into the quinoa. With the pecans, cranberries and turkey, it becomes a Thanksgiving-esk meal.

It's a really light dish that will go with almost anything! Besides the work that goes into chopping, it was really easy and quick to make. All together, it took about half an hour...not too bad.

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