Quinoa with Feta and Sweet Potato

Quinoa frightens me. It’s such a trendy food, but I have no idea how to cook with it. I was even afraid to say the name out loud (It’s pronounced KEEN-wah, not quinoa that rhymes with Ramona). Fortunately, I found The Vegetarian’s Complete Quinoa Cookbook at Orem Library to help me get over my quinoa anxiety.

I selected an easy side dish to try — Quinoa with Feta and Sweet Potato.

Quinoa with Feta and Sweet Potato

Note: Quinoa has to be rinsed well before cooking, because a bitter toxin called saponin coats quinoa. (Perhaps my fear of quinoa is well-founded!)

½ cup red quinoa, rinsed and drained

1 cup vegetable broth

2 cups cubed sweet potato, peeled and cut into ½ in cubes

1 cup goat feta, cut into ½ inch cubes

6 green onions, thinly sliced

¼ cup chopped fresh parsley

1 Tbsp dried cranberries (optional)

Place the quinoa in a small saucepan, add the broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook covered for 15 to 20 minutes. The quinoa is done when the grains are translucent and all the liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork, remove from heat and let stand covered for 5 to 10 minutes.

Place the cubed sweet potatoes in a steamer basket. Place in a medium saucepan. Add 2 in of water to the saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and steam until tender, about 6 to 8 minutes. Toss the feta cubes and green onions in a large bowl. Add the parsley and cranberries (if using).

Toss in the cooked quinoa and sweet potatoes and serve immediately.

Results

Well, I burned the quinoa the first time I cooked it (You should definitely cook it on the lower end of medium-low). But I quickly made up a new batch of quinoa and continued cooking.

quinoa1

The family had a mixed reaction to the side. Some didn’t like the feta in the dish, and some didn’t like the sweet potato. But everyone liked the quinoa. It had a nice nutty taste, and I think I’ll cook it again as a side, much like rice.

I substituted tri-color quinoa for the red quinoa, because the cookbook said that the darker the quinoa, the stronger the taste. I also substituted feta crumbles for the cubes, because that’s what I had on hand. I substituted chicken stock for the vegetable stock, and forgot to add the parsley, because I was so frazzled by burning the quinoa initially.

quinoa3

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