Welcome to the May 2013 Virtual Vegan Potluck! 169 bloggers from around the world sharing vegan recipes. For me, no potluck is complete without some kind of hearty grainy side with plenty of seasonal vegetables. This is my first foray into a potluck like this and I am happy to share. I hope that you enjoy this recipe.
I love quinoa and have since the first time that I tasted it which was at least 15 years ago. At that time there were very few recipes that I could count on to turn out right. It took me a while to perfect my quinoa cooking method on the stove top: 1 cup quinoa, 1 ¾ cups liquid, 12 minutes on the heat and 5 minutes off the heat. My quinoa turns out perfectly almost every time, and I have demonstrated how to make it hundreds of times to thousands of people.
In addition to this great tasting recipe, here I share the directions for pressure cooking quinoa. I resisted doing this for years because quinoa already cooks so quickly. Yet, cutting the cooking time in half is quite useful. Cook 1 cup quinoa, 1 ¼ cups liquid, 5 minutes at high pressure with a natural pressure release. Additionally, you save at least 50% on your energy usage which is so environmentally friendly.
No matter how I cook it, quinoa is a staple in my house and my go-to gluten-free grain. I especially like to mix the white (also called ivory) and red quinoa but in this recipe since the saffron colors the quinoa, it’s better to use the white which provides better visual contrast with the green vegetables. The lemon zest and juice add great fresh flavor and wonderful antioxidant and anticancer properties. Don’t ever mention that this dish might actually be good for you.
Saffron Quinoa with Seasonal Vegetables
Makes 4 servings
Quinoa is one of my favorite gluten-free grains. It looks and tastes beautiful with the saffron added. When eggplant, peppers and tomato are truly in season, use them. In earlier summer, use green beans plus pantry staples of olives and garbanzo beans. Adding fresh herbs at the end always lends a bright flavor note and lots of antioxidants.
¼ cup warm or hot water
A pinch of saffron threads
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 teaspoons olive oil (if desired)
1 cup sliced leek or onion
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1 cup sliced snow or sugar snap peas (about 12 medium peas)
1 cup asparagus, sliced into 1-inch pieces (about 8 medium spears)
1 to 2 teaspoons lemon zest from an organic lemon
2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or sliced or slivered almonds
¼ cup chopped fresh herbs such as parsley with a bit of chives or dill
Drizzle of lemon olive oil or lemon juice
Salt and pepper to taste
Soak the saffron in the ¼ cup of water for at least 5 minutes. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then the leek or onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the quinoa and toast it. Add the saffron and the soaking water. Add the broth. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 12 minutes on the heat. Remove from the heat and add the peas and asparagus. Replace the cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Check to be sure that the quinoa is cooked through (it will have little white rings). Stir and add the lemon zest pine nuts or almonds and herbs. When ready to serve, add the lemon olive oil or lemon juice right before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.
Pressure cooking directions: Follow the same directions as above (but use 1 1 1/4 cups liquid total instead of 1 3/4 cups), locking the lid on the pressure cooker and bringing to high pressure for 5 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. When it does, carefully open the lid, add the asparagus and peas and put the lid back on for 2 minutes. Stir, add lemon zest, nuts and herbs.
Note: My method for cooking perfect quinoa every time includes decreasing the amount of water by ¼ cup for each additional cup of grain. For example, when making 2 cups of quinoa, use only 3 ¼ cups liquid on the stove top. When making 3 cups, use 5 cups of liquid.
As surprising as this seems, you can also freeze leftovers, if there are any, and defrost and eat them later. Still yummy.
©2013, Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, The Veggie Queen, http://www.theveggiequeen.com
To see another great recipe go back to willow & thyme.
Or go forward to Veganishy.
To see all of the wonderful bloggers who have contributed, click here.