Roland Red Quinoa and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
I’m still having fun with this box o’ goodies I received with a sampling of products from Roland Foods, a purveyor of gourmet and natural products (full disclosure once again: I never review products I don’t like, nor do I accept payment for reviewing products). This time, I tried the Red Quinoa and Sun-Dried Tomatoes.
For anyone new to this food, here’s Quinoa 101: Once the staple nourishment of the ancient Inca culture of South America, quinoa is technically a grain-like seed. Considered a specialty grain, it’s expensive compared with rice, for instance, but nutritionally, you get a lot for your food dollar—quinoa is considered a “superfood” for its superb nutritional profile, which includes high-quality, complete protein.
Quinoa cooks to a fluffy texture in about 15 minutes and has a mild yet distinct flavor. The pale golden variety of quinoa is more common, but lately, the red variety has become more widely available. The two don’t taste different but the red quinoa is very pretty. Occasionally, I mix the two kinds.
You don’t need a recipe to make a tasty quinoa pilaf. In fact, my younger son made this one (and photographed it) using whatever veggies were in the fridge. If a 19-year-old can make such a lovely dish, you can, too (though this particular 19-year-old is already an excellent cook). Here are the basic steps:
- For 4 to 6 servings, use 1 raw cup quinoa. Make sure to rinse well in a fine sieve to get rid of a harmless but soapy-tasting residue. Simmer quinoa in 2 cups water or vegetable broth until the liquid is absorbed, about 15 minutes. If you’d like a more tender grain, add an additional 1/2 cup water and cook until absorbed.
- Meanwhile, start a sauté of onions and/or garlic in a steep-sided skillet or stir-fry pan using olive oil. Then add whatever chopped veggies you like—I see here that Evan used broccoli, corn, a little cabbage, and the dried tomatoes. You can use peppers, carrots, zucchini, leafy greens…whatever is in the vegetable drawer.
- Season with fresh or dried herbs, a little lemon juice, and the requisite salt and pepper.
- To make a heartier and really high-protein dish, add some cooked beans to your pilaf. Or serve with a simple bean dish or bean salad on the side. Add a big green salad and you’ve got dinner.
Roland’s red quinoa is just as good as red quinoa usually is, no matter what the source; theirs says “pre-washed,” though I like to give it a good rinse in any case. I was impressed with the sun-dried tomatoes I used, as they were particularly moist even though they were neither oil-cured nor sulfured, but I can’t find the particular kind I used on their web site’s selection of dried tomato products. I hope to find out more about Roland Foods in the near future, and in particular, where their products can be found retail … stay tuned!
- Read more reviews of products for healthy living in VegKitchen’s Product Guide.
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