A friend of mine is a real food lover but his food repertoire runs the gamut from Burger King to fast-food burritoes. He caught me a little off guard the other day when he excitedly told me that he had discovered a delicious and versatile food---quinoa. I guess it didn't expect someone without food allergies to declare quinoa one of their favorite foods. But I whole heartedly agree with him.
Quinoa, pronounced "Keen-wa," is not only delicious but also a nutritional powerhouse. It contains more protein than any other grain (although technically it's not a grain) with an average 16.2 percent. It rivals the protein content of meat and is a complete protein with essential amino acids. What's not to like about quinoa?
I recently found a recipe for orzo "paella" and decided to doctor it up and use quinoa instead. No surprise, it was perfect!
Ingredients:3/4 pound large frozen shrimp, cleaned, shelled and thawed, tails on
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 T. plus 1 tsp. olive oil
1 cup vegetable broth
1 cup water
1/4 tsp. turmeric
1 cup quinoa
1/2 cup frozen peas
1/2 small onion, chopped
Optional: 2-4 boneless cooked chicken thighs, cut into chunks
1/4 cup roasted red pepper strips
Optional: 1/4 cup chopped parsley
Place first four ingredients in a ziploc bag with 1 T. olive oil. Set aside.
Add quinoa to pot with veggie broth, water and turmeric. Bring to a boil. Reduce to simmer and cook 15 minutes.
Heat remaining olive oil in a large skillet. Add onion and cook until translucent. Add shrimp and cook for 3 minutes, turning them halfway through. Add chicken thigh chunks if using. Add quinoa to pan. Add peas and heat mixture. Lay red pepper strips on top and sprinkle on parsley.