What’s the big deal with quinoa these days? It seems like everywhere I look, someone is making quinoa salad, quinoa burgers, quinoa quinoa… Quinoa is a seed (not a grain) that offers more protein and fiber than the brown rice I typically pair with my Asian-inspired dishes. It’s easy to cook, and there was a package sitting in my cabinet. So I caved to temptation and set out to see what all the hype was about…
Makes about 4 servings
- 1 lb jumbo shrimp, peeled and deveined
- 5 teaspoons reduced-sodium soy sauce, divided
- 2 tablespoons peanut oil, divided
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 2 teaspoons minced garlic
- 3 cups water
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup trimmed snow peas
- 1 cup baby corn
- 1/2 of a large red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 of a large white onion, chopped
- Cilantro, for garnish (I used dried cilantro)
- Thinly sliced scallions, for garnish
Toss shrimp in 3 teaspoons of soy sauce and set aside.
Here’s where I got to have fun with the quinoa. Instead of just cooking it in water, I toasted it first. To do this, place a large skillet with a tight-fitting lid over medium heat. Add 1 tablespoon peanut oil and quinoa. Cook, stirring constantly, until the quinoa begins to color. This should take about 6-8 minutes. Add garlic and cook, stirring, until fragrant, about 1 minute more. Add water and salt and bring to a boil. Stir once, cover and cook over medium heat until the water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes (do not stir).
Add the shrimp and cook until it’s pink and opaque.
Add the snow peas and baby corn. Stir in two teaspoons of soy sauce and cook for about 2-3 minutes, or until vegetables are crisp and bright. Stir the entire contents into the quinoa. Add salt to taste.
So my first soiree with quinoa? Satisfactory. And (wait for it, wait for it)… savory (duh).