June 11, 2008

But I Don't Like Spinach!

As I learn to be wheat and dairy free, I am exploring new foods. My current favorite is quinoa. This is the "mother of all grains" and no I'm not cursing. This grain has been a staple crop for thousands of years in South America. It was the Incas that referred to it as the mother of all grains.

For those of us who are sensitive to wheat, it is a great find. It is not technically a grain and is in the Chenopodiaceae family which also includes spinach and beets. It has a balanced set of amino acids which other grains and rice do not have.

Even if you're not sensitive to wheat, it makes a tasty addition to your cupboards and comes in a variety of colors. Use it in place of rice or couscous or as a breakfast cereal. Tonight I combined red quinoa with a fresh fava bean sauce and made a tasty dinner.

Fresh Fava Bean Sauce with Quinoa

4 tsp olive oil, divided

1 1/2 tsp garlic, minced

1 T fresh oregano, finely chopped

1 boneless, skinless chicken breast, frozen

salt and pepper, to taste

1 c. cooked, peeled fava beans

1 c. dry quinoa

(garlic powder, cayenne powder, dried oregano, dried basil, dash TABASCO® brand Chipotle Pepper Sauce)

1. Cover chicken breast with water. Add garlic powder, cayenne powder, dried oregano and basil and the Tabasco (I just add a little of this and a little of that). Cover and bring to a boil. Boil until chicken is done. Remove chicken breast to cool and save the "broth."

2. In pan, heat oil and saute garlic until light brown. Add fresh oregano. Add 1/2 c. of reserved chicken broth, 3/4 c. of the fava beans, and salt and pepper to taste. Simmer for approximately 3 min. Puree in separte container. Return to pan. Add additional 1/2 c. chicken broth or more to make a sauce. Add remaining 1/4 c. fava beans.

3. Bring 2 c. chicken broth or water as needed to a boil in separate pan. Add quinoa. Bring back to a boil, cover, and turn down to low. Cook about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed.

4. Dice chicken. Heat 2 tsp olive oil in large pan and add chicken. Add cooked quinoa. Pour fava bean sauce over chicken/quinoa and toss. Heat until warm.

5. Enjoy! Goes well with a green salad.

Note: There are a number of ways one could approach this recipe. You could use pre-made chicken broth and pre-cooked chicken. In that case, skip step 1.


jennconspiracy said...

I just adore quinoa. I tried to grow some last year but forgot the soaker hose was on and went to work last fall and killed the sprots. I'm going to plant some after I pick the plums from the tree next week and then I can plant up the space I left clear for the ladder (how's that for planning ahead?).

I admit - I have a terrible garden. It's mostly tomatoes. I've got broccoli raab, arugula, chard (coming in!) and some other things -- but I mostly have tomatoes. Not very self-sustaining, I admit. But I will have plenty of tomato paste and sun dried tomatoes all winter. :)

Anonymous said...

Yum, this sounds delicious. I'm glad to see people using their fava beans. I want to make some ful with mine.

At Holy Cow we served this as part of a Middle Eastern special--a scoop of warm favas on a scoop of cold hummus with olive oil, cilantro and pita. I guess served this way it is called "Musabacha" or "Masabacha".

Anton claimed that fava beans contain natural mellowing agents or something like that. All I know is that it was tasty!

gc&s said...

101 Cookbooks, my favorite food blog, has some great quinoa recipes that you might enjoy:

Thanks for sharing your recipe :)

Going Crunchy said...

I love quinoa! I do toast mine in the pan prior to cooking to help bring out the full nutty flavor.

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