Welcome to another, long overdue edition of Five Items. Today’s dish, quinoa pilaf, is more of a starchy side, but it would be a terrific accompaniment to tofu steaks, either my version or Martha’s, for a fast, high-protein meal.
But first, what is quinoa? Pronounced keen-wah, it’s an ancient grain from the Andes region that once played a ceremonial role in Incan and Aztec cultures. An incredibly hardy plant that can survive extreme weather and high altitude, its seeds (pictured above) are packed with protein and essential amino acids. Apparently, the leaves of the plant can also be eaten as a green vegetable.
I like quinoa because of its delicate, slightly crunchy texture and cute appearance — the seeds unfurl into tiny spirals when cooked. It’s also high in fiber and very easy to cook.
Here are the five ingredients:
1. 1/2 cup onion or shallot, finely diced
2. 1 tablespoon ginger, peeled and minced
3. 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
4. 2 cups chicken stock
5. 1 cup broccoli florets, blanched
In a medium saucepan, heat a dash of olive oil over medium-high heat and saute the onion and ginger until softened. Add the quinoa, stock, salt and pepper to taste. Stir to combine, bring to a boil, lower heat, cover and simmer for 15 minutes, or until liquid is absorbed. Fluff quinoa and add broccoli. Stir to combine over a low flame until heated through.