Tuesday, October 12, 2010


A tasty and amazingly fast (if you roast the garlic ahead of time) quinoa recipe from Cooking Light. I doubled the quantities, as recommended by the CL commenters, because I wanted to serve it as a main dish--and also because roasting a head of garlic and then only using half of it (“save the other half for another use”) is just silly. I swear, there is a certain proportion of silliness in every CL recipe. However, it’s still definitely a petite main (although it was pretty satisfying, the bowls looked awfully meager as I dished them up—only about 1 cup per serving), and might be more fulfilling as a hearty side with some chicken or fish or something as the entrĂ©e…or maybe it just needed to be served with a side salad? I liked that this is basically constructed like a risotto, because I enjoy the flavor and texture of quinoa so much more than rice. I’m always tempted by risotto recipes and then I make them and remember I am decidedly MEH ricewise. I briefly got excited about the idea of converting all (er, both?) of my existing risotto recipes to use quinoa instead, but A gently discouraged me. He liked this meal fine, but he’s definitely not a true quinoa believer yet.

1 whole garlic head
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons finely chopped shallots
½ teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons dry white wine
2 cups low-sodium chicken broth (use vegetable broth to make this vegetarian)
1 cup baby spinach leaves (I probably used more; it shrinks down so much anyway)
⅔ cup chopped seeded tomato (I used halved cherry tomatoes)
2 tablespoons grated fresh Parmesan cheese
½ teaspoon salt

1. To roast the garlic, preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove the outer papery skin from the head of garlic and cut off the top ¼ inch of the head, so just the very tops of the cloves are exposed. Drizzle a little olive oil over the garlic, wrap it loosely in foil, and place the foil package in the oven for about 1 hour, until the cloves are soft. Let cool slightly, then squeeze the soft cloves out and roughly chop them, discarding the skins. (Roasted garlic can be stored in the refrigerator in a tightly sealed container for several days.)

2. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium heat. Add shallots and red pepper flakes to pan; cook 1 minute. Add quinoa to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring constantly. Add wine; cook until liquid is absorbed, stirring constantly. Add broth; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat and stir in garlic pulp, spinach, tomato, cheese, and salt.

Serves: 4
Time: 30 minutes, plus 1 hour for roasting the garlic

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