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.
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.
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.