Pantry Basics

Keen On Quinoa
November 29, 2013 • Posted by Ankita Satija

Rice and grains are some of the most common ingredients in comfort food – they’re the perfect complement to many entrées and they fill you up oh-so-nicely. However, have you been introduced to rice’s healthy cousin, quinoa?

Originated in the Andean region of Latin America, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) seeds are a rice-like grain. They can be used as a more beneficial alternative to rice and they carry as much nutrition value as cereal. A staple in its region, quinoa is not only coveted for its delicious seeds, but also for its leaves. However, quinoa leaves are much less common commercially.

Substituting quinoa for rice will not only have you feeling more vigorous – the seeds contain a ton of calcium, protein and iron – but can also broaden your culinary horizons. Quinoa tastes great with many different kinds of dishes, particularly in Latin American cuisine.

Ready to make the switch? Good. We’ll help you get started with a Latin-infused Cuisinart original recipe.

This delicious and colorful salad calls for long grain white rice. With all-fresh vegetables, you’ve already included some of the healthiest ingredients around. Substitute the rice with quinoa, and you’ve achieved nutrition nirvana.

Yellow Rice and Black Bean Salad:
Makes 8 cups

1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, cut into ¼-inch dice
1½ teaspoons kosher salt, divided
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon turmeric
¾ teaspoon ground cumin, divided
1½ cups (Rice Cooker) long grain white rice
2¼ cups (standard liquid measure) water
1 clove garlic, peeled, finely minced
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon rice vinegar
¼ teaspoon ground coriander
¼ teaspoon oregano
6 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
1 can (15-ounce) black beans, rinsed and drained
1 cup diced (¼-inch) jicama
1 cup grape tomatoes, halved
½ cup chopped red bell pepper
¼ cup chopped red onion
1-2 jalapeño peppers, stemmed, seeded and finely chopped
¼ cup chopped fresh cilantro

Place the diced cucumber in a strainer. Sprinkle with ½ teaspoon of the salt; toss to coat.

Place strainer over a bowl to drain for 30 minutes. Insert the cooking bowl into the Cuisinart® Rice Cooker/Steamer. Add oil, turmeric and cumin; cover and cook and 2 minutes. Add rice; stir to coat with oil and spices. Cover; cook 2 minutes. Stir in water and ½ teaspoon of the salt. Cover and turn on.

Cook until liquid is absorbed, about 18 to 19 minutes. Spread the rice onto a baking sheet to cool. Place minced garlic, lime juice, vinegar, coriander, oregano, the remaining salt and cumin in a small bowl; stir with a whisk to blend. Add olive oil and whisk until emulsified. Place the cooled rice in a large bowl. Add the black beans, jicama, tomatoes, chopped red pepper, chopped onion, and chopped jalapeño. Stir gently to mix. Add the vinaigrette and chopped cilantro. Stir gently to combine.

Transfer to a decorative bowl to serve. If not serving immediately, cover and refrigerate.

Remove from refrigerator 30 minutes before serving.

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