Until last night, I had never eaten quinoa, let alone cooked it. I’ve been wanting to try it for quite some time, but I was having trouble finding it in my regular store. I finally bit the bullet and went to Whole Foods to find it (and walked out $50 poorer). I’ve heard that quinoa is popping up in regular grocery stores, but apparently it’s not yet in normal grocery stores in Alabama. If you can’t find it, try online; Amazon has a good selection.
Quinoa is VERY easy to cook and this recipe would make a great side dish, but is filling enough to serve as a main dish in a meatless meal. Another great thing about this recipe is that it’s easily adaptable. You can make it with almonds, like I did, but I think that pine nuts would be delicious too. Any sort of white cheese that melts well can be used, so this dish is a great way to use up cheeses that you have in your fridge.
Quinoa with Spinach and Cheese – serves four
1 cup uncooked quinoa
3 tablespoons olive oil
1/3 cup sliced almonds or pine nuts
6 cloves garlic, minced
2-3 cups baby spinach leaves
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 cup grated gruyere, gouda, fontina, or other white cheese
Soak quinoa in hot water for 5-10 minutes. Drain through a fine wire mesh strainer. Bring a pot of lightly salted water to boil and add soaked quinoa. Simmer for 15-20 minutes, until quinoa is tender. Drain well.
Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat. Toast nuts in oil for 2-3 minutes. Add garlic and cook until fragrant, another 2 minutes. Stir in quinoa and spinach. Allow the spinach to wilt and quinoa to reheat, then remove from heat. Stir in lemon juice, cheese, and salt and pepper to taste. Serve immediately.
-Adapted from Cucee Spouts