Mushroom Quinoa

21 Sep

I started reading about quinoa a few years ago, during the low-carb craze, and haven’t gotten it out of my system quite yet. In fact, this recipe is a favorite for lunch or as a dinner side dish, and it always makes me happy.

Quinoa is a grain, but only technically. It’s related to the beet and a few leafy greens, is gluten-free, and is packed full of nutrition. It’s a complete protein source and contains lots of amino acids. And it cooks up a lot like rice, which gives you some hands-off time to go do something else (I hear it works in a rice cooker, but haven’t tried that myself).

This recipe didn’t start as anything. I wrote it myself, start to finish, when I was trying to figure out what to do with a box of quinoa that made its way home from the grocery store (you’ll frequently find it near the rice, and all the stores in my area carry it now). It’s a little bitter and absorbs other flavors well. I was going for comfort and texture, so mushrooms, garlic, and onion came to mind.

Be sure you rinse your quinoa well before you cook it. It’ll help take the bitter edge off. Just pour it into a mesh sieve and rinse it under the faucet for a few minutes, and then dump it right into your cooking liquid. That’s not always written on the box, but it’s a step I don’t recommend skipping.

Feel free to add beef, chicken, or other veggies to this. I like to brown the mushrooms first because they give off a wonderful liquid that’s perfect with the broth. And speaking of that, go ahead and switch out the beef I use with chicken, veggie, or another liquid you like. You can also swap out the quinoa with couscous (follow cooking directions on the box to get the broth amount) or rice–I’m thinking wild rice would be really good.

This recipe makes about four lunch-sized servings for me. It keeps beautifully and re-heats really well, which makes it great to cook up on a Sunday and pack for the week. It would also be a great substitute for rice or potatoes with steak or other red meat.

To make my mushroom quinoa, you’ll need:

About 2 tsp of olive oil

8 oz of sliced mushrooms

About a quarter-cup of finely diced onion

One clove of garlic, finely diced

1 14-oz can of beef or other broth

Water

1 cup of quinoa, rinsed well

Heat the olive oil in a small saucepan or saucier over medium heat. Saute your sliced mushrooms until they’re a deep mahogany brown:

Add onion and garlic and saute until they begin to soften, just a few minutes.

Pour broth into a 2-cup measuring cup and add enough water to reach the 2-cup mark. Pour that into the saucepan with the veggies, and stir in the quinoa. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, cover, and let simmer until all the broth is absorbed, about 20 to 30 minutes, stirring occasionally.

When the liquid is gone, turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit for about five minutes. Sprinkle with shredded Parmesan if desired (yum!).

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2 Responses to “Mushroom Quinoa”

  1. Leslie Setlock September 21, 2010 at 11:46 am #

    I wonder if I could do broccoli instead? I’m trying to pitch quinoa to the kids, but since they hate mushrooms, too, this won’t help.

  2. Kim September 21, 2010 at 1:17 pm #

    Hey Leslie!

    If you’re going for broccoli, I’d probably use chicken or veggie broth instead, and make sure you rinse the grains really well to de-bitter them first. You could really do a pilaf with this that way, adding whatever veggies you want. If you let the onion go first until it’s really soft (but not brown) it’ll add a layer of sweetness too. 🙂

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