Once considered sacred to the Incas and usually thought of as a grain, Quinoa (“Keen-wah”) comes from the seed of the chenopodium quinoa plant which is actually related to green leafy veggies like swiss chard and spinach.  The World’s Healthiest Foods reports that it’s a complete protien, and full of many other nutrients like manganese.

The great thing about quinoa is that it’s incredibly versatile and easy to cook.  Just add 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water and bring to a boil over the stove.  Cover and let simmer for 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed and you can fluff with a fork.  You will know when it is ready because it will have a little white curly Q look to it. 

I purchased some in bulk on the cheap at the local co-op and, since I really liked this stuffed squash recipe a few months ago, I decided to try a Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash dish for my first go at making this wonderful “grain” at home.  You could also use it as a substitute for white rice in stir fry, as a breakfast food mixed with oats, and I’ve since used it in a fabulous gluten-free Quinoa and Black Bean Chili.

Quinoa-Stuffed Acorn Squash
Adapted from the “Joy of Cooking: All About Vegetarian Cooking”

1 acorn squash, halved and seeded
1 tbsp.  butter
1/2 c chopped onions
1/2 c quinoa, rinsed and drained
1 c vegetable stock
1 tsp salt
1/8 tsp black pepper
1/4 cup chopped almonds toasted
2 tbsp. chopped fresh parsley
4 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350.  Arrange acorn squash cut side down in a baking pan.  Add 1/2 inch of water to the pan and cover with aluminum foil.  Bake until the squash are tender, about 30-40 minutes.  Take the squash out and let cool, leave the oven on.

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add onion, stirring until golden, about 5 minutes. Add quinoa, stirring until toasted, about 3 minutes.  Stir in the stock , salt and pepper and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer, covered, until the liquid is absorbed, about 10-15 minutes.  Uncover and cool slightly.

Stir in the nuts, parsley, and 2 tbsp. of the cheese.  Spoon mixture into the squash cavities.  Sprinkle the tops with the remaining cheese.  Bake until heated through, about 20 minutes. 

Posted in Chew On This,Recipes by Liz on February 6, 2008 | Permalink | 1 Comment

One thought on ““Keen-wah”

  1. JUDIE says:

    Oh how I want to love quinoa. I just can’t! The last box I bought is languishing in my cupboard. As a vegetarian for over 30 yrs., I have overcome many food biases, but this one, I’m afraid, is beyond me! Help!

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