Make Your Own (Quinoa) Sundaes
Let me start by telling you that it's pronounced "keen-wa", and let me say further that this grain (okay, it's technically a seed) is not only wildly wholesome, it is also incredibly yummy: tender and crunchy, with a mild, grainy flavor that takes well to things like butter, cheese, and citrus. If you are unsure about it, try just following the quinoa directions below, and add the lemon zest and juice, but then instead of olive oil stir in a big blob of good butter and serve it just like that. It is very hard not to like. But if you do it this way, you'll have a crazy-delicious citrus-scented bowl of food that will, quite literally, energize you.
Ready In: 45 minutes
Yield: 6 servings
For the quinoa:
1 1/2 cups quinoa
the finely grated zest of 1 lemon, and 1 tablespoon of its juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
- Wash the quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining it in a sieve after each rinsing (this is a great job for a child).
- Now cook the quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (it should be salted enough to taste salty), uncovered, until almost tender, about 12-14 minutes; the grains should have spiraled open somewhat.
- Drain it in a sieve, then set that sieve over the same pot above 1 inch of simmering water (the water should be lower than the bottom of sieve). Cover the quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover the sieve as best you can with a lid and steam it until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes.
- Remove the pot from the heat and remove the lid. Let it stand, still covered with the towel, for 5 minutes, then move it to a bowl, fluff it with a fork, and stir in the oil, zest, and juice.
- Taste it for salt, but bear in mind that both the seeds and the feta are going to up the saltiness quotient in the end.
For the beans:
1 15-ounce can of black beans (or any other beans or chickpeas you like), rinsed and drained
1 tablespoon olive oil
The juice and finely grated zest of 1/2 a lime
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt (or half as much table salt)
- Stir all the ingredients together, taste, and adjust the seasoning as you like.
For the herbs:
A large handful of cilantro (or parsley or basil), washed and dried
The juice and finely grated zest of the other 1/2 a lime (minus the bit you used for the seeds)
1 clove garlic, peeled and put through a garlic press
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 cup oil (I actually used canola here, for mildness)
- In a food processor with the metal blade, whir together the cilantro, lime juice and zest, garlic and salt, stopping the motor occasionally to scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula.
- With the motor running, drizzle the oil through the feed tube and process until emulsified. (Honestly, you could so skip this step: use already-made pesto, or simply chop some herbs nice and fine and put them in a bowl.)
For the veggies:
3 or 4 small zucchini
- Dice the zukes into half-inch pieces, then toss them with oil (about a tablespoon) and salt (about a half teaspoon) on a foil-covered baking sheet.
- Broil close to the heat for 10 to 15 minutes, until the zukes are tender and browning and taste like burnt marshmallows. (Alternatively: quarter the zukes lengthwise, brush them with oil and sprinkle them with salt, then grill them, covered, until they're tender, then chop them up.)
Add some cheese to the options to mix in with your quinoa: 1 cup crumbled feta or crumbled fresh goat cheese, or another crumbled or shredded cheese of your choosing.
Quinoa requires a bit of gentling, as you need first to rinse off its bitterness (nice!) and then boil it and then, so it will be fluffy instead of gluey (mmm!), steam it briefly: none of this is hard, but it requires you not to be trying to get dinner on the table out of a single pot in five minutes.