I love trying new foods. I mean, I won’t do the bizzzzzzarrreee, extreme, weird foods like scorpions-on-a-stick or chocolate covered grasshoppers. Yeah, not gonna do it. So when I was introduced to Quinoa, we were having a pot-luck at work and one of my co-workers brought in a Quinoa salad. Almost everyone went nuts over this dish so I just had to try it. I couldn’t be left out of the party.
The running joke in my office, even to this day, is pronouncing Quinoa. It is phonetically, pronounced: Kin-wah, but I have some guys who love to joke and pretend they are still 9 years old (which of course, there’s nothing wrong with that) and as almost every young boy wishes to be, they evolve into Bruce Lee Martial-Arts-Master and repeatedly say “Keen-waaaaaaahhhh!” while their eyes glaze over and a satisfying boyish grin erupts across their face. Yes, they revert to their childhood momentarily. See what food does? Gotta love it.
So after having had this Quinoa salad, I still didn’t know exactly what I was shoving into my face, all I knew is it was good. Really good. Then I heard it was good for me. Say what? How is that even possible? I had it in my mind that anything “good for you” had no taste, flavor, texture – it was just flat cardboard sitting on my tongue making me gag and wish for an ooey-gooey cheese melting delight. How wrong I was. Quinoa is actually a seed, but is widely known as a healthy alternative whole grain. It is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free grain. Quinoa cooks easily and provides all 9 essential amino acids making it an excellent, complete source of protein.
So enough of the nutritional things about Quinoa – we want to get to cooking the stuff! Since I was introduced to this new healthy grain, all I saw were salads, and I had no idea how it was prepared, but had it in my head it was labor intensive. Again, how wrong I was. If this is a healthy grain compared to rice and barley, why couldn’t I eat this stuff hot?
What I came up with is this wonderful side dish of Quinoa with almonds and scallions. BA-YUMMO!!
This dish is quicker than you would think to prepare and one everyone would actually love and not know it’s good for them. You can find Quinoa in the pasta isle of any grocery store – some may have it in the healthy food section. But because it’s becoming quite popular, stores are making it easier to find. I’ve even seen different kinds of Quinoa – red quinoa, ready-made-flavored kinds (which, in my opinion, would have too many preservatives and defeats the “healthy” purpose of quinoa – “Make your own” is my motto.)
Make this side dish for yourself and you too will be a 9-year-old dreaming of Bruce Lee Martial-Arts-Master status going around the house saying “Keen-waaaaaaah!”
- 1 Tbs. olive oil
- ½ yellow onion, chopped
- 1 Tbs. dried rubbed sage
- 1 cup Quinoa, not cooked
- 1¾ cup low sodium chicken broth
- 3 stalks scallions
- ¼ cup slivered almonds, toasted
- 1½ - 2 Tbs. unsalted butter
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in sauce pan over medium heat; add onion and sage. Cook until onions are translucent, about 5 minutes.
- Add quinoa and chicken broth. Bring to just a boil, reduce heat to simmer and cover. Cook for 25 minutes.
- Add scallions, almonds, and butter. This is where you taste it to see how much salt and pepper you want to add. Please, please don't just dump salt and pepper in without tasting it. Because if you put too much in, you can never take it out. It's better to add a little at a time until it's just right for your taste.
- Drizzle a little bit of olive oil over and serve immediately. Don't forget to say "Keen-waaaaaah!".