Quinoa is from South America and it’s a species of goosefoot, a “grain-like” crop. It became trendy because quinoa (pronounced keen-wah or kee-no-uh, your choice) is packed with calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron, and has a high protein content to boot.
Unlike wheat and rice (but similar to oats) it contains a balanced set of amino acids, making it a complete protein source. It’s high in fiber, gluten-free and easy to digest. It’s so nutritious that NASA is considering it as a crop for their Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned space flights. (So if your kids turn up their noses, tell them it’s astronaut food!)
It’s kinda like rice or couscous. Has a nice, nutty flavor too.
It seems that the ancient Incas were onto this little wonder food as far back as 3,000 years ago and it played a major role in sustaining their teeming civilization. It’s been a staple in that part of the world all this time, and we only just discovered it on our grocer’s shelves a few years ago. Go figure. But it’s time we got in on it. Any food that’s equally at home in a primitive mountain village or in outer space has my respect.
Here is a year-round one skillet recipe for you. Light and totally vegetarian, you will feel good about yourself after eating this for dinner.
- Cook Time
- Prep Time
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
- 1 medium Spanish onion, peeled and sliced
- 3 medium carrots, peeled and sliced into ¼-inch thick rounds
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon fresh grated ginger or ½ teaspoon ground ginger
- 1 medium red bell pepper, sliced
- 2 cup sugar snap peas, coarsely chopped
- 1 medium eggplant, cut into ½-inch cubes
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 cup water
⅓ cup soy sauce
- 3 tablespoon honey
- 1 lime, zested
- 1 can sliced water chestnuts, drained (8-ounce)
- 3 green onions, sliced
1. Heat olive oil in a 12-inch skillet over medium high heat.
2. Add onions and carrots and sauté 5 minutes. Add garlic and ginger and sauté 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add peppers, peas and eggplant and sauté 8 minutes more. Add quinoa and 1 cup water and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer over low heat and cover. Cook for 15 to 18 minutes or until vegetables are tender and quinoa is cooked.
3. Stir in soy, honey, lime zest and water chestnuts and cook 2 more minutes.
4. Divide between 6 shallow bowls to serve and garnish with green onion.