Quinoa with Latin Flavors

I found the recipe for Quinoa with Latin Flavors a while ago, and after making it tonight, I’m sad that I waited this long to try it.

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a South American grain; it’s gluten-free and a great source of protein. I’ve had some in my pantry for a while now (they sell it at Trader Joe’s), but I’ve generally been at a loss of what to do with it. I know that I could cook it just like I would rice or couscous, but honestly, brainstorming side dishes isn’t a strong point of mine.

This quinoa recipe was easy to make. First, you toast a cup of quinoa in a skillet for about 5 minutes. Next, you saute chopped onion in a tiny bit of oil for a few minutes; add garlic and a small can of green chiles, and then add broth and the toasted quinoa. (They call for a 14oz can of chicken broth; I used 14oz water and 1.5 cubes of vegetable bouillon.) Simmer until the quinoa has soaked up all the liquid; the recipe says this will take 20-25 minutes, but mine took less time since I had my gas range turned higher. Remove the quinoa from heat, and toss with lime juice, cilantro, scallions, and roasted pepitas (pumpkin seeds). I had plenty of time while the quinoa cooked to chop up the cilantro and scallions. I used squash seeds that I roasted a few days ago in place of pepitas.

Quinoa with Latin Flavors

Alex and I really enjoyed this dish. It was bright from the lime, but not too bright. I enjoyed tasting the cilantro and scallions distinctly as well. The roasted seeds really added a nutty flavor to the dish; however, they were a little stale and chewy after two days so I would (re)toast them if you’ve got fresh seeds you’re using. This dish had green chiles in it, but it wasn’t spicy. You could serve the quinoa with chicken or fish, but we served it with… nothing, since I made a dessert for later.

This recipe was fast, easy to make, and delicious. It’s definitely a keeper. I wouldn’t do anything different except to make sure I toast my pumpkin/squash seeds right before making the dish (or buying some that were already toasted). If you want to experiment with quinoa, I recommend you give this recipe a try.

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