I like my rice. One problem though…I really do try to limit our refined grains so the whole white rice thing has been bothering me.
I grew up with brown rice but switched to white a few years ago, and just can’t get used to most brown rice again. I have found that if I bake it I like the texture and taste, but dinner prep time is hardly ever relaxing and for some reason the steps it takes to bake brown rice is usually very overwhelming.
This has led me back to quinoa. A grain I have had a bit of a love/hate relationship with. I found a few ways I like it (such as Pumpkin Pie Quinoa) but it was still hit and miss. Even if I am careful to soak and thoroughly rinse it to get rid of the bitter coating, it still can be too strong of a flavor. I really wanted to get used to it because of how nutritious it is though.
I found out the other day what I had been doing wrong, and it is kind of embarrassing. I had not tried cooking it with salt. I cook everything with high quality salt as I truly believe it is the base of flavoring a dish. But not quinoa because I had read it made it tough.
Well, I tried it on a whim the other day and found no issue with the texture, and it tasted so much better than salting at the end.
So, when I was making burrito bowls the other day I decided against using Cilantro Lime Rice, instead I was going to use quinoa. I like Spanish rice almost as well as cilantro lime rice especially when I can top it with avocado cream without the whole dish becoming to acidic. So, Spanish Quinoa it was.
I lightly toasted the quinoa like you would with Spanish rice, added tomato, peppers, onion, and a few spices. It was so good! Cooking it in chicken stock just increases the savoriness, and makes it all the better. I am excited to have a more nutritious alternative to serve with some of my favorite Mexican dishes.
- 1¾ cup unsalted chicken broth
- 1½ t cumin
- 1 teaspoon chili powder
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoons tomato paste
- 1 cup quinoa (soaked 5 min, rinsed well)
- 2 tablespoons oil
- ½ cup chopped vidalia onion
- 3 cloves crushed & roughly chopped garlic
- ½ cup chopped green pepper
- Let sit for 5 minutes with a towel
- Mix the tomato paste, salt, and spices with the chicken stock. Set aside.
- Cover the quinoa with water and let sit for a few minutes. Drain the water off of the quinoa and then cover it again. So, cover, agitate, rinse. Until the water is perfectly clear. You could simply rinse until the water runs clear but I find I need it in the bowl to see if the water is still cloudy. It only takes a minute or two, and makes all the difference. Make sure you drain it well before continuing.
- Preheat the oil in a medium skillet (that has a tight fighting lid) for a few minutes. Add the onions, garlic, a pinch of salt, and quinoa. Stir and cook until the quinoa first dries (about 1 minute) then toasts (about 3 minutes) it will begin to smell nutty, but won't really change color. You might need to turn down the heat depending on your stove. You should not be hearing a sizzling sound. If it is too hot it will burn the garlic, which tastes pretty nasty.
- Add the bell pepper and seasoned chicken stock. Cover and turn the heat up. Once it comes to a boil turn down to where it simmers and let simmer until the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes) stirring every so often. Once it is done remove from the heat and fluff up with a fork. Cover pot with a towel then put the lid back on. Let sit for about 5 minutes.
Natural Living Monday @ Natural Living Mamma