Regardless of the heat outside, I have moved into fall mode with dinners in our house. For the longest time, quinoa has been received half-heartedly at our dinner table. I avoided it simply because I wasn’t up for an argument. I am happy to report, this meal was greeted with “yums” and even a “this is the best dinner EVER!”… not too shabby! It was also enjoyed the next day in lunches, and every grain was gone when lunch bags came home at the end of the day.
I had this recipe at a school potluck, made by one of my best (and toughest) teachers at IHN, Paul Demeda. He is a brilliant guy, and apparently he also cooks a mean curried quinoa. This is a slightly modified version of his recipe, originally posted here.
Quinoa is an amazingly nutrient rich food. In terms of protein, there is 8g in one cup of cooked quinoa. It is actually considered a “complete” protein, meaning that it contains an adequate ratio of all of the 9 essential amino acids needed for health. This means that quinoa is a complete plant based protein option, similar to non plant based options like meat and eggs. Quinoa is a great source of antioxidants. The antioxidant flavonoids quercetin and kaempferol are also especially plentiful in quinoa. In fact, the concentration of these two flavonoids in quinoa can sometimes be greater than their concentration of high-flavonoid berries like cranberry or lingonberry. Antioxidants are critical to our immune system health.
In addition to being a nutritious, fiber rich meal, it is tasty and easy. This recipe makes enough for a family of four with healthy appetites, plus extra for lunches the next day. You may consider altering quantities if you want to make a little less. I have added chicken to the dish, however it can easily be a great vegan meal.
- 2.5 cups quinoa
- 5 cups veg or chicken stock (you can use water instead)
- 2 chicken breasts – totally optional
- 1 tbsp coconut oil – plus more if you are cooking chicken as well
- 2 onions
- 6 cloves garlic, crushed
- 1.5″ ginger root, grated
- 1 diced pepper (yellow, green, or red)
- 8 fresh tomatoes diced, OR 1 can tomatoes (28 oz), diced – include liquid
- 1 tbsp chili powder
- 1 1/2 tbsp curry powder
- 1/2 tsp sea salt or to taste
- 1 can coconut milk
- Rinse quinoa well under cold water
- Add quinoa and stock (or water) to a medium-sized pot and bring to a boil, cover and reduce heat to low for 15 minutes.
- If you are adding chicken: add 2 tsp coconut oil to a frying pan, and cook chicken covered, adding 1 tbsp of water to keep it steamy in there. Once cooked, set aside
- In a separate large pan heat coconut oil
- Cook onion and ginger until onions are slightly soft (a few minutes)
- Add garlic, diced peppers and chili powder, curry powder and sea salt
simmer on medium heat for several minutes (until peppers are a little soft)
- Add tomato and sliced chicken and cook gently and covered for 15 minutes
- Add coconut milk and simmer for one or two more minutes
- Mix the curry in with the cooked quinoa and serve, topped with cilantro if desired.