The Crunchy Quinoa Problem
I’m not perfect in the kitchen, I’ll admit it. In fact there are two things I have to do to christen a kitchen when I’ve moved to a new place: make chicken broth and set off the fire alarm. For a long time I struggled with rice, yes rice, even though I could make a practically perfect cheesecake. I’ve improved quite a bit with practice though and now rice is no problem for me. I do however still seem to struggle somehow with quinoa.
I love the stuff and I still have a huge bag my parents bought me from Costco during undergrad. My problem is that no matter how well I wash it or how long I cook it for I always seem to find one or two bites of something crunchy and gritty in my damn quinoa! Does anyone know what this is? Is it sand that isn’t getting rinsed out or is it a few bits of quinoa that aren’t cooking? The texture is so off-putting and unpleasant. It tends to ruin subsequent bites for me. I like to tell myself that it’s this specific bag that’s bad so my next plan is to run to the store and try to whip up a batch from a fresh bag and see if the problem repeats or not. Especially since this is my favorite lunch right now. It’s full of good for you grains, veggies and delicious kalamata olives. It’s definitely best for days I go to Bikram yoga when I need to have energy well into the late evening. I can’t go into hot yoga with a full stomach; it makes me feel ill, so I need to eat something with tons of grain at noon and then some fruit around 3pm. Then I’m good to go through all 90 minutes in 105 degrees. I’m about to start my “Bikram Yoga Challenge” which is making it to the studio 10 days in a row. When I embark on my quest I’ll let you know!
Anyway this is a less involved recipe, because not everything I do is complicated or 5star, I just wanted to share something I do as a “quick” food item. As such there aren’t exact measurements; this is just how my brain operates when I need to find things in the fridge/pantry for lunch.
- 1 cup dried quinoa, prepared as instructed on the bag except I substitute in chicken broth for water.
- 1 1/2 cup sundried tomatoes – mine are from a jar and so they are packed in their oil. You’ll need to keep this in mind if yours aren’t.
- 4 diced zucchini
- 1 diced orange bell pepper
- 1 cup pitted kalamata olives
- 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh basil
- 1 diced shallot
- Salt and pepper to taste; pinch of fresh lemon zest
Prepare the quinoa as your bag instructs. Odds are it’s going to be 2 cups of water for every cup of quinoa, bring to a boil and then simmer for 15 minutes. See? Simple. Let me know if you do it differently though! I’m still trying to solve that gravel issue.
Heat a saucepan over medium heat and add the sundried tomatoes in their oil. The oil should be enough to sautee the rest of the ingredients, if yours don’t come packed in oil then use one of your choice (olive/grapeseed/canola) for this. Add in the shallots and sauté for 7-8 minutes over medium heat. You want to get flavor from the shallots but not burn the tomatoes. Then add the remaining vegetables and olives for another 6-8 minutes.
Remove from the heat and mix in with the quinoa. Toss in the basil, salt, pepper and lemon zest. Enjoy a big bowl for lunch over a few days. The best part is that this is good cold or warm!