Quinoa: the food that we’re told to eat, but not how to pronounce. While a lot of people think it’s a starch, it’s actually a grain, a seed to be exact, which is why it’s popular among the gluten-free crowd. It’s a curious food, quinoa (and that’s pronounced: keen-nwah), and one that I had never cooked before. The first time I had it was a few years ago at one of my favorite restaurants in Hollywood, Off Vine. It was a stuffed bell pepper and I thought it was so good I vowed to make it.
Well I didn’t. And now almost 3 years later I finally made a quinoa dish. And I have (no surprise) Giada and her “Weeknights With Giada” to thank. However I made 2 small changes. Giada’s recipe calls for frozen peas and black olives. I’m not a fan of either so instead I used frozen edamame (shelled) and sun-dried tomatoes. In addition I steamed my edamame before adding to the cooked quinoa. I still have the rest of the bag of quinoa in my cupboard, so maybe I’ll finally make my own version of Off Vine’s stuffed bell pepper! Stay tuned…but meanwhile, enjoy this quinoa “salad” with purple potatoes from Giada, the kitchen goddess.
QUINOA WITH PEAS AND POTATOES (serves about 3 to 4)
- 6 ounces Purple Peruvian Potatoes
- 2 Cups Chicken Broth
- 2 Garlic Cloves (or 1 if you don’t want too much garlic)
- 1 Cup (4 ounces) edamame (shelled)
- 1/4 Cup Sun Dried Tomatoes
- 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
- 2 Tbsp Agave Nectar
- 1 to 2 Tbsp Fresh Lime Juice (1 large lime)
- Salt and Pepper to taste
If using frozen edamame (or peas if you prefer), be sure to remove them from the freezer first to allow them time to thaw. Measure out what you need in your scale and let them sit on your counter to thaw out.
Next cut your potatoes into about 1/2″ size (bite size) pieces. Fill a large pot about 1/2 to 2/3 of the way with cold, salted water and add your potato pieces. Turn the heat up to high and bring to a boil. And don’t freak out when the water turns green, that’s normal. I googled it and it’s a science thing having to do with levels of acidity in the potatoes. (Pretty cool though!) They should be fork tender, about 15 minutes. Once done, drain and set aside to cool.
While your potatoes are boiling start your quinoa. Peel and smash your garlic (don’t chop) and measure our your chicken broth and quinoa. Combine all three into a large saucepan (that has a cover) and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Then reduce the heat to low, cover and let simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender. Remove from the heat and let rest for 5 minutes to finish cooking. Then remove the garlic and discard and using a fork fluff your quinoa. Add in your cooked potatoes and steamed peas and toss well.
While your quinoa is simmering steam your peas and then set aside. Chop up your sun-dried tomatoes (I used dry versus ones soaked in oil) into small pieces and set aside. (This was instead of the black olives.) In a liquid measuring cup, combine your olive oil and agave nectar to make 1/4 cup total. Pull out a blender or a mini food processor and combine the sun-dried tomatoes, olive oil and agave mixture, lime juice and 1/2 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon black pepper. Chop until chunky.
Pour enough to coat over your quinoa mixture, serve and enjoy! I had mine as a full dinner, but this would make a great side dish as well.