Somehow 2013 came and went without my knowing that I was missing “The International Year of the Quinoa” as officially declared by The Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations. (The World’s Healthiest Foods) I didn’t ‘discover’ quinoa until December, almost completely missing the superfood’s official year. I’m on board now, though and always looking to include interesting seeds and grains in my diet. Interestingly, Quinoa is not a grain but a seed (a Chenopod to be specific) related to beetroot and spinach. It is a complete protein and nutrient rich, including a source of calcium. Quinoa is gluten free and easier to digest than many other grains and pseudo-grains.
Coconut Ginger Quinoa is a flavor packed dish, the combination of onion, ginger and coconut providing a great balance of savory and sweet. In addition to the quinoa, edamame and almonds give it a protein boost. The apples and raisins add a natural sweetness and help make it kid friendly. Younger kids might have fun shelling the edamame while you cook the quinoa. This is a very forgiving dish that can be served warm or at room temperature, making it perfect for making ahead or bringing to a potluck. You can even make the quinoa ahead of time and assemble the ingredients at the last minute. Enjoy!
Coconut Ginger Quinoa
2 tsp. coconut or olive oil
½ cup onion, chopped (optional)
2 Tbs. minced fresh ginger
1 cup quinoa
1 ½ cups vegetable broth
1 cup edamame, shelled
1 medium apple, diced 1/4 cup raisins, currants or cranberries (optional)
1/2 cup unsweetened coconut flakes or shreds (I used half and half) Dressing (optional): 1/2 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup red wine vinegar, 2 tsp honey
- Toast almonds in dry pan over medium heat for several minutes, or until fragrant and golden brown. Remove from heat and let cool. If you are using flake coconut, you can dry toast it as well for a nice nutty flavor. Set aside.
- Sauté onion in oil 2 to 3 minutes, or until translucent.
- Add vegetable broth, quinoa and ginger. Simmer, covered for 15 to 20 minutes, or until all liquid is absorbed. (Note: Rinse quinoa to remove any last remaining saponin, a naturally occurring but bitter covering. If you don’t have a fine mesh strainer, just put quinoa in a bowl , fill with water and pour out as much water as possible without pouring out any quinoa.)
- Let partially cool and pour into a large serving bowl.
- Shell the edamame and boil in salted water for 4 minutes. Drain. (Or you can add the edamame to the quinoa for the last few minutes of cooking)
- Add edamame, almonds, apple, raisins and coconut to quinoa and toss to mix. Salt to taste. Drizzle with dressing if using. Serve warm or at room temperature.