When I got the email asking me to review Quinoa Cuisine, I answered with a resounding “Yes!”. This was one of the few cookbooks I would be truly delighted to receive. I love quinoa. I love it’s nutty flavor, I love the way it pops/crunches slightly in the back of your mouth when you bite it, I love the way it pairs with just about everything, and I particularly love its nutritional profile. High protein, high fiber, and here’s a little neat bit of trivia; did you know that quinoa is actually a “pseudograin” related to beets, spinach and chard? Talk about the superfood posse! Quinoa is unarguably one of the best substitutes for grains, and in addition to the protein and fiber, is also rich in calcium, iron, potassium, B vitamins and Vitamin E. I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again, in the words of my husband’s Grandma Lily, “WCBB?” (“What could be bad?”)
More good news: I’m giving away a copy of this book. To enter, go like me on my facebook page (if you haven’t already) and leave me a comment on the wall, letting me know how you like to eat quinoa, or how you would like to in the future. Again, you need to like my facebook page, if you haven’t already, here). I will enter you into the drawing to win a copy of this lovely book. I will also share everyone’s comments once the drawing has closed, next Thursday, May 17th. So that’s how it works. If you like me, I might be able to give you something, if the fates are in your corner. Seems a little crass! Apologies, apologies….
But I think you’ll want to take a chance on this. This book is the first of its kind. “Quinoa Cuisine” is packed with 150 creative, mouthwatering recipes for breakfast to dessert and all the potlucks and picnics in-between. I was particularly excited to see that authors, Jessica Harlan and Kelley Sparwasser use quinoa in all its various forms, from quinoa flour, to the many different colors of quinoa, to quinoa flakes. And it’s really nice to have the healthy addition of quinoa many places you’d never expect it. For example, in hummus (see recipe below), Thai Summer Rolls, White Bean Dip, Quinoa Frying Batter, Creamed Spinach, and Quinoa Pizza Dough.
These recipes are expertly written. When I said “yes” to reviewing the book, I didn’t realize it was co-authored by Jessica Harlan, whom I used to work with at Lime.com (now Gaiam). I have long admired her healthy and delicious recipes. She’s always been a proponent of healthy eating without sacrificing a bit of taste.
While this cookbook is not top-8-free, nor is it exclusively a gluten-free cookbook, if you have flexibility in your diet, and want to bump up your choices and pack in some extra nutrition, this is a great addition to your cookbook library. I pulled a couple of the top-8-free recipes from the book to share with you below, and there are many others that I will certainly be adapting. In particular, the Quinoa Carrot Cake with Maple Cream Cheese Frosting, p.168. Definitely next on my list. Bravo to the chefs for taking quinoa to the next level. Read on for two of my favorite picks from the book.
This back-to-basics Mediterranean spread can be used as a dip or on sandwiches. Vary the recipe by adding roasted red peppers, kalamata olives, feta cheese, or almost anything you please. The quinoa flakes add a pleasing nuttiness and enhance the silky-smooth texture of the hummus.
Makes 2½ Cups
30 Mins or Less, Gluten-Free, Good for Company, Healthy Choice, Kid Friendly, Vegan
½ cup quinoa flakes
½ cup vegetable stock or broth
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas, drained and rinsed
2 medium cloves garlic, minced
¼ cup tahini
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
¼ teaspoon ground cumin
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, divided
¼ teaspoon paprika
1. In a small bowl, cover the quinoa flakes with the vegetable stock or broth. Let sit for 2 minutes until the flakes are softened.
2. Place the soaked quinoa flakes, the chickpeas, and the garlic in the bowl of a food processor and process until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the tahini, lemon juice, cumin, salt, pepper, and 2 tablespoons of the olive oil. Process until combined, about 45 seconds. Taste and adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, as needed. Transfer to a serving bowl and top with the remaining 1 tablespoon olive oil and the paprika.
Grapefruit, Pomegranate, Avocado, and Black Quinoa Salad
The vibrant colors of this salad really pop against the black quinoa, making for a gorgeous presentation.
Serves 6 to 8
Gluten-Free, Good for Company, Healthy Choice, Vegetarian
⅔ cup black quinoa, rinsed
1⅓ cups water
1 large grapefruit, segmented, juice reserved (see sidebar)
1 teaspoon honey
1 teaspoon Campari
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1¼ cups pomegranate seeds
1 tablespoon minced fresh mint
1 avocado, pitted, peeled, and diced
kosher salt and black pepper
1. In a medium saucepan over high heat, bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and cook until the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender, 18 to 20 minutes. Turn off the heat and let the quinoa sit for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow to cool.
2. Place the grapefruit segments in a medium bowl. In a small bowl, whisk together the grapefruit juice, honey, and Campari. Slowly add the olive oil while continually whisking to emulsify the dressing. Season with a pinch of kosher salt.
3. Add the cooked quinoa, pomegranate seeds, and dressing to the grapefruit slices, and stir to combine. Using a rubber spatula, fold in the mint and avocado. Season to taste with additional salt and pepper, as needed. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
To segment citrus fruit
Use a serrated knife to cut the top and bottom off the fruit, just exposing the flesh. Place the fruit with one of the flat sides resting on your work surface and follow the curve of the side from top to bottom to slice off the peel where the pith and the flesh meet. Working over a bowl to catch the juice, use a sharp paring knife to carefully cut along the membrane to free the segments. After all the segments have been removed, squeeze the remaining juice from the peel and membranes.