Monday, February 8, 2010

Cranberry Pecan Quinoa Stuffing

This is my new favorite quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) recipe. It is a version of the lemon quinoa recipe--which is a great basic quinoa recipe. Although I don't recommend overcooking it, if you overcook the quinoa cooked in chicken broth it tastes like stuffing! My kids prefer Tinkyada Brown Rice Pasta, but I like having a bowl of this healthy "stuffing" in the fridge so I have something healthy to eat all the time. Quinoa is a complete protein. According to the Body Ecology Diet "It contains all 9 essental amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscle."* It is actually a seed--not a grain. But the small couscous-like seeds taste like a grain when they are cooked and seasoned. Because it is a seed, it has higher levels of calcium, magnesium, iron and zinc that most grains like wheat and corn. It is also a prebiotic, which is a food for good bacteria. Another great thing about quinoa, is that it does not encourage growth of candida in the body--making it a great "grain" for people who are sensitive to yeast. Quinoa can have a funny taste if you don't rinse it well. You can also soak it for 8 hours to remove the phytic acid which interferes with absorption of minerals. Ancient Harvest quinoa is a good brand to use if you have never cooked it before, because it is prewashed.

6 cups chicken stock or water
1 tablespoon finely grated fresh lemon zest (from 2 lemons)
2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon very mild honey or agave
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
2 cups quinoa (about 10 oz or one package)
4 scallions, chopped
1/2 cup chopped fresh mint
1 cup of dried cranberries - chopped
1 cup of pecans - chopped

Whisk together lemon zest and juice, oil, honey, salt, and pepper in a large bowl until combined.

Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a large sieve each time. (washing the quinoa thoroughly takes away the bitter taste it would otherwise have) or use Ancient Harvest Quinoa which is prewashed.

Cook quinoa with chicken stock or water in a pot, uncovered, until almost tender, about 15 minutes. Drain in sieve if there is any excess liquid. Let stand (covered with a cloth and a lid) 5 minutes.

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in scallions, mint, and salt and pepper, cranberries and pecans to taste.

Makes 10 servings.

*Body Ecology Diet on Quinoa: An In-Depth Guide to the Amazing Health Benefits, Uses and Other Darned Interesting Facts of this Beloved Body Ecology "Grain"