Quinoa, pronounced keen-wa is one of those superfoods that’s been making headlines lately. A friend of mine wrote me a message last year asking me if I had ever tried Quinoa and saying “it’s all the rage right now”. I thought to myself, all the rage, really? I hadn’t realized it had become so trendy. I had been eating Quinoa for years and it never occurred to me that some people had never heard of it before. In fact, I later found out that 2013 was declared International Year of the Quinoa by the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations (FAO).
Quinoa is a wholesome and flavourful ancient grain that was cultivated thousands of years ago in Bolivia. Most commonly known as a grain, it is actually not a grain at all, but rather a seed and is now classified as a pseudograin for simplicity. In addition to its wonderful nutty flavour, the benefits of Quinoa are that it’s extremely easy to prepare, very versatile, extremely nutrient rich and a good source of zinc, folate and vegetable based protein due its high concentration of amino acids. Quinoa also has antioxidant and anti-inflammatory phytonutrients and is naturally gluten-free. What more could you ask for?
Quinoa is probably my favourite “grain” or pseudograin and I use it in many recipes, for all meal occasions including breakfast, lunch, dinner, appetizers, salads and even cookies and other baked desserts.
I picked up four heads of organic broccoli at the supermarket yesterday on the way home from work, so I decided to make a Quinoa & Broccoli Pilaf with roasted almonds, combining three superfoods to make a nutrient rich and flavourful dish.
- 1 C of Quinoa, rinsed
- 1 C of Organic Low Sodium Vegetable Broth
- 1 C of Water
- 1 Small Head of Broccoli, divided into small florets (about 1 cup)
- 1 Shallot, finely diced
- 2 Tsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil, Cold Pressed
- 2 Tbsp of Slivered Almonds
- Thoroughly rinse quinoa in cold water and let dry in a colander.
- Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a pot over medium heat, add diced shallots, and a pinch of salt to let the shallots sweat. Sautée for a few minutes until transparent.
- Add quinoa and mix to combine with shallots. Toast the quinoa for a few minutes, then add broth and water.
- Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for approximate 15 minutes until all the water has evaporated. Remove from heat and keep covered until ready to use.
- In the meantime, dry roast the almonds over medium heat until golden, being careful not to burn them. Remove from heat and set aside.
- Drizzle remaining teaspoon of olive oil into the pan and stir fry the broccoli florets until well cooked, but still crispy.
- Fluff quinoa with a fork and transfer to a serving dish. Top with broccoli florets and dry roasted almonds, toss gently and serve warm.