"What are these little fish eyeballs?" My son said today when I gave him some of this Moroccan Spiced Red Quinoa. I cracked up. He took another look at it and said "No for real Mom, what is that?"
Quinoa - An ancient grain that when it's cooked it pops out a little tail which is the germ of the seed. It's an excellent source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and unlike other grains, it is a complete protein all by itself.
Quinoa has a natural bitter coating that must be rinsed away prior to cooking so I always start by rinsing the little round “seeds” under running water until the water runs clear. Some quinoa comes pre-rinsed, just check the packaging. Note of precaution...if you don't rinse it will have a bitter flavor, so make sure not to skip this step.
Whats great about quinoa is it can be used as a substitute for rice, so it’s easy to start thinking of it as a side dish, a cold salad, added to soups, included in a stir fry, etc. A lot of people are intimidated by quinoa for some reason, but just think of it as rice and you can do it!
Cook 1 cup to 2 cups liquid (chicken, vegetable broth or water) I like to season the liquid with a seasoning of some sort as it adds good flavor while it's cooking.
Tonight I wanted a quick dinner with little hassle so I decided to make my favorite Moroccan Carrot Salad and mix it with a Moroccan Spiced Red Quinoa. It was perfectly light, flavor packed and crunchy!
Moroccan Carrot Salad
Yields 1 lb
1 lb Carrots, Peeled & Cut into Chunks
1 Tbps Cumin Seeds, Whole
2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1/4 Cup Extra Virgin Olive Oil
3 Tbsp Lemon Juice, Freshly Squeezed
2 tsp Garlic Cloves, Finely Minced
2 Tbsp Cilantro, Chopped
1 tsp Moroccan Spice Mix (see recipe)
1 Lemon, Zested
In a small skillet over medium high heat, add 2 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Cumin Seeds. The seeds will release their essential oils when the hit the hot oil. Then add Carrot chunks and saute or 1-2 minutes only. No more, you want it to have little crunch and be al dente. Remove from heat.
Mix dressing and add the warm carrots to the dressing and toss.
Moroccan Spiced Red Quinoa
Yields 4 Cups
1 Tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil
1 Cup Red Quinoa, Rinsed Well
2 Cups Liquid (Chicken, Vegetable Broth or Water)
1 Tbsp Moroccan Spice Mix
In a small sauce pan over medium high heat, add Extra Virgin Olive Oil and Moroccan Spice Mix then add the rinsed Red Quinoa, toss around the quinoa until coated with the oil and then add the liquid.
Reduce heat to a low simmer and covered for 20-25 minutes until liquid is absorbed and the little seed tail pops out.
Mix the cooked Moroccan Spiced Red Quinoa with the Carrot Salad. Serve room temperature.
Light and Delicious!Stormy
Moroccan Spice Mix
1 Tbsp Cumin, Ground
1/2 tsp Tumeric
1/4 tsp Cayenne Pepper
1/2 tsp Allspice
1 tsp Smoked Paprika
1 Tbsp Garlic Powder,
2/3 Cup Himalayan Pink Sea Salt
Mix together and keep in a tight fitting jar. Use to season meats, grains and vegetables.