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Quinoa Pilaf

I taught at Radnor High School between 2004 and 2010 – so that’s going back a long time now. My coworker was ahead of the trends and implemented a “grain bar” segment into our level 1 class. We cooked risotto, bulgar wheat, rice and quinoa. The kids called it “qwin-o-ah” and pretty much had zero interest in learning something new, especially one that looked like this did. The risotto still won every time, but the quinoa was a surprising second place.

Quinoa is a superstar because it contains more and better protein than any other grain. If rinsed well (it has a coating called saponin that makes birds stay away) then it doesn’t taste like much, and oddly enough, the very basic recipe we developed for our students is still one of my favorite ways to eat it. Rich has been grain free for a while now; the bag-the-size-of-texas I bought at Costco has been collecting dust. A part of this virus lockdown is that I’m trying to cook from the pantry and freezer and there’s no getting around this quinoa bag. It’s that big.

Luckily it was a neat little surprise; I haven’t made this recipe in almost ten years and had actually forgotten how much I liked it. I think it’s the butter, so don’t sub that. I ate this cold for lunch the next day; still good. My kids each had some with their dinner and even they were fans – my toddler was scooping it up and stuffing it in her mouth at an alarming rate. Will definitely be making this again. Is quinoa “out?”? Probably, but it was good for you then and it’s good for you now.

Quinoa Pilaf

Serves about 4-6 side dish portions

1 1/2 c. quinoa

2 1/2 c. chicken broth

1 c. carrot, diced

1 small to medium onion, diced

1 1/2 c. broccoli florets, cut small

2 tbsp. unsalted butter

1 large (or two small) clove garlic, minced

1/2 tsp. oregano

1/2 tsp. salt

1/4 tsp. black pepper

4 scallions, light green and green parts only

  1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly by placing the grain in a fine sieve. 2 to 3 minutes or until the water runs clear (no bubbles).
  2. Place quinoa and chicken broth in a saucepan and bring to a boil. 
  3. Reduce to simmer over lowest heat, cover, and cook until all of the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes), stirring occasionally.
  4. Meanwhile, add butter to large nonstick skillet over medium high heat. Once bubbling and melted, add chopped vegetables (and garlic), along with oregano, salt and pepper. Reduce heat to medium and cook, stirring occasionally, until tender – about 10 minutes.
  5. Add cooked quinoa to veggies and stir to combine. Add scallions, stir in, and serve.