Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Quinoa paella

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!
Quinoa Paella
Serves 4
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.


meryl said...

You can make this even easier if you use precooked quinoa. Village Harvest sells a frozen version that's awesome because you can pour it out into a measuring cup (its not frozen in a solid chunk of anything), pour it into the pan and start the recipe--cuts cooking time by more than half!!!

Sheree Welshimer said...

It would be fast and even easier with the frozen kind. Thanks for the tip.