Friday, May 1, 2015

Q is for: Quinoa Mexican Pilaf

I knew I was going to make quinoa for the blog this week.

Being that there's not a ton of options when it comes to "Q" foods, I've featured it quite a bit. My quinoa & ground turkey zucchini boats are one of my all-time most popular posts, and the kale and quinoa gratin is one of my faves. I've used it in a salad, I've stuffed it into an acorn squash. But I've never posted about it as a stand alone dish, which is ironic considering I make it quite a bit at home.

So anyways, my original plan was to recreate something I'd had from Whole Foods recently with blueberries and feta. But then I walked in to the store, and saw everything on display for Cinco de Mayo.

Mexican Quinoa. Arriba!

First thing's first. Make the quinoa. A couple of tips for punching up the flavor. 1.) Rinse it a couple of times before cooking it. 2.) Use broth in place of water. I used a half cup of dry quinoa to a cup of broth. Bring to a boil and then cover and reduce to a simmer and cook until broth is absorbed and fluff with a fork. Quinoa is done when those little curly "q" tails are visible.

Meanwhile, prep the other ingredients. (Or as the French would say, get your "mise en place" on). Not pictured: cilantro & lime zest. (Pssst... if you need an easy way to get corn off the cob, check out this post).

Lightly saute a few of the ingredients in a couple teaspoons of oil, starting with the white parts of the green onions, then the garlic and jalapeno, followed by the corn. Meantime, salt the tomatoes and squeeze half a lime over the avocado.

And... now for the secret ingredient: pepitas! You can leave them out if you can't find them, but I love the added texture they give to this dish. I found these in the bulk section at Whole Foods.

And that's it! Gently fold everything together and season with lime juice, salt, pepper and Tapatio! (That's the other secret ingredient). This is great served hot alongside your Cinco de Mayo spread, or even cold as more of a salad. (I know this because I ate it cold while writing this post).

I figure this can help cancel out those Strawberry Margaritas. Or Mexican Mules. Or Margarita Jello Shots. Arriba!!

Mexcian Quinoa Pilaf

by Jaymee Sire
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes
Keywords: saute side salad gluten-free cilantro corn quinoa avocado Cinco de Mayo Mexican 

Ingredients (4 side servings)
  • 1/2 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup broth
  • 4 green onions
  • 1 lime (zest & juice)
  • 1 avocado
  • 1-2 tomatoes
  • 2 ears corn
  • 1/2 jalapeno (use full one if you like it spicy),
  • 1 clove garlic
  • 2 tablespoons chopped cilantro
  • 1/4 cup roasted pepitas
  • salt & pepper, to taste
  • hot sauce, to taste
  1. Rinse quinoa 2-3 times or until water is no longer cloudy. Drain and place in a small pot with chicken broth. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes, or until all of the broth has been absorbed.
  2. Meanwhile, prep ingredients. Slice off roots of green onions and slice onions, separating the green tops from the white and pale green parts. Zest the lime and set zest aside. Dice the avocado and tomato. Salt the diced tomatoes and squeeze half of the lime over the diced avocado. Remove kernels from cobs, seed the jalapeno and finely dice. Mince the garlic.
  3. Heat two teaspoons of Safflower oil on stove over medium heat. Saute the white and pale green parts of the onions for 1-2 minutes. Add minced jalapeno and garlic and saute another 60 seconds. Add corn and cook another 1-2 minutes. Stir in lime zest and remove from heat.
  4. When quinoa is done, stir in the sauteed vegetables. Gently fold in the tomatoes, avocado, pepitas, cilantro and as many of the green onion tops as you would like (I didn't use all of them). Squeeze the other half of the lime over the top, season with salt, pepper and hot sauce (I like Tapatio). Serve warm as a side dish, or cold as a salad.
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  1. Thanks so much for this clever quinoa dish! I so often crave Mexican rice dishes - nice to have this option!

  2. I've never made quinoa, but this looks delicious


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