Sunday, 26 June 2011

Toasted Quinoa Pilaf: Could You Please Move You're Right In Front of the Quinoa

Another stolen title. This one's a lyric from a little ditty called 'Whole Foods Parking Lot', a rap where the dude drives a Prius, is pissed about Kombucha being taken off the shelves, and is paying $80 for six things and waiting in the hella slow express line. Things are getting real in the Whole Foods Parking Lot, check it:

So, I'm not going to sit here and wax poetic or get rapturous about quinoa (pronounced keeeeen-waaah). I think it's really easy to make a dead boring dish with quinoa. People seem to lose their shit over it a lot, and usually when I eat it I'm like 'meh'. But not with this dish. This, people, will shoot you the straight goods on just how tasty quinoa can be when you treat her right. It's super healthy, easy, filling, flavourful and really good hot and at room temperature. I made it today because I knew it would be great plane food...I'm heading to Vancouver tomorrow and there is no way in H-E-double hockey sticks that I am paying $8.50 for slimy ham and tasteless cheese on stale bread. So THERE Air Canada.

Quinoa Still Life No. 1 With Dirty, Singed Oven Mitt. 
The recipe is originally from a newsletter that comes with an organic produce bin I get delivered every second week from Front Door Organics (because I like to keep it real). Also, why do I feel like saying that I get an organic produce bin delivered makes me sound a bit douchey? Anyway, it's great, I've been using this company for four years, and they send you a bunch of delicious fruits and veggies and some recipes for what to do with them. I have no idea where the original newsletter is now. If you would also like to keep it real/sound a bit douchey when you talk about it, please go to, and you can start today!

Toasted Quinoa Pilaf with Kale and Pine Nuts

Quinoa, in the process of being treated right.
1 cup quinoa (I used white, but there's also red and that's fine too)
2 cups chicken stock (if you want to make this vegetarian and vegan, just omit the chicken stock and replace it with vegetable stock)
1 tbsp of oil for frying
1 bunch kale, washed, hard stems removed, and torn into bite-sized pieces (you could use curly kale or black kale/lacinato kale, or you could use chard, or spinach, or anything green and leafy, really – so go ahead and use those mustard greens! Do it!)
2 carrots, grated
2 celery sticks, finely sliced
1 onion, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted
salt and pepper, to taste

This is effectively a one-pot meal, almost. You do have to use a skillet to toast your pine nuts, so, it's technically two. Re toasting pine nuts:  put them in a small pan, over medium to medium-high heat. No oil is necessary to toast these babies, as they'll release their own special pine nutty oil and that'll do the trick. Keep those nuts moving; seriously, don't go anywhere. They go from delicious golden brown to acrid burnt and black in like a half-second. Once they start to go darker, and you can smell their nutty toastedness, take them out of the pan immediately. Keep them aside, they'll get stirred in at the end.

In a large, fairly deep pan (a cast iron is ideal for this job), pour in your 1 cup of quinoa, again to a naked pan. Toast it over medium to medium-high heat for about 15 minutes. If you're using white quinoa, it'll go from being, well, light coloured to darker and a bit brown-y. If you're using red, I assume it will just go to a darker red. A safe assumption. It might pop a little bit in the pan, which is fine and frankly desirable. After fifteen minutes, remove the quinoa and set it aside.

Put your oil in the same pan you toasted the quinoa in, lowering the heat to medium. Toss in your onions, celery and garlic. Saute for a few minutes, and then add your kale, carrots, quinoa, and chicken stock. Let it come to a boil, and then turn down to minimum heat, and cover. It should take about 20 minutes to fully cook – you'll see that the curly germ separates from the quinoa grain, and that's pretty much when you know it's done. Also, all the liquid should be absorbed.

A good time to say that cast iron pans are just so great.
Remove from the heat and stir in your pine nuts. Taste for salt (some chicken stock can be mega-salty, so I tend to wait until the end on this one), and add both it and pepper if you wish. Serve hot or at room temperature. Makes about 4 servings.

1 comment:

  1. Oh man, I am just so in love with you. I mean, your cooking. Your cooking. And your blog. And you.

    xo Buski