Wednesday, March 6, 2013


I'm feeling experimental this week, so I decided to try something I have never cooked before: quinoa.

looks like birdseed, doesn't it?
Quinoa is having a bit of a moment right now. The UN has declared 2013 the "International Year of Quinoa". Although it's treated like a grain, quinoa is actually a seed. It's popular among vegetarians because it is high in protein. It is also gluten-free, if you are watching that sort of thing.

But that's all official nutrition-y stuff. What I can tell you is that it tastes good and is easy to cook. The flavor is very mild, like slighty nutty rice. And like rice, you cook it by boiling. Easy.

To make it even more nutritious, I combined it with kale. I'm not really into kale (I find the texture a bit tough) but it works with this.

I found this recipe at Food52. I did make a few tweaks, since walnut oil and pine nuts are a touch pricey for my budget. Also, I didn't have any scallions or lacinato kale, so I used garlic paste and plain old curly kale instead. But the result is terrific: creamy, nutty, with a wonderful perfume from the lemon. It's also quick to make, and you only get one pan dirty. Enjoy. I'm going to look for more quinoa recipes. This stuff is good.

looking forward to lunch today!

Kale and Quinoa

Serves 2-4

2 cups salted water
1 cup quinoa
1 bunch lacinato kale, washed and chopped into 1" lengths (I used curly kale)
1 meyer lemon, zested and juiced
2 scallions, minced (garlic paste - 1 teaspoon)
1 tablespoon toasted walnut oil (I used olive oil)
3 tablespoons toasted pine nuts (I used walnuts)
1/4 cup crumbled goat cheese
salt and pepper

1.Bring the water to a boil in a covered pot. Add the quinoa, cover, and lower the heat until it is just enough to maintain a simmer. Let simmer for 10 minutes, then top with the kale and re-cover. Simmer another 5 minutes, then turn off the heat and allow to steam for 5 more minutes.

2.While the quinoa is cooking, take a large serving bowl and combine half of the lemon juice (reserving the other half), all of the lemon zest, scallions, walnut oil, pine nuts, and goat cheese.

3.Check the quinoa and kale when the cooking time has completed -- the water should have absorbed, and the quinoa will be tender but firm, and the kale tender and bright green. If the quinoa still has a hard white center, you can steam a bit longer (adding more water if needed). When the quinoa and kale are done, fluff the pilaf, and tip it into the waiting bowl with the remaining ingredients. As the hot quinoa hits the scallions and lemon it should smell lovely. Toss to combine, seasoning with salt and pepper, and the remaining lemon juice if needed.


  1. Oo. This looks yum. Do you think it would still be tasty if I omitted the goat cheese and added some shredded chicken?


    1. I don't see why not. The recipe seems fairly flexible. I was thinking of replacing the kale with chard.