Jun 262007

Growing up, while probably no different than most other American households, I was familiar with startlingly few grains. I knew of wheat, oats, rice, and…. that’s about it. Since I’ve struck out of my parents’ house and have had a kitchen — and some cookbooks! — to call my own, I’ve been making a conscious effort to branch out.

This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cookbooks. It’s odd that it’s one of my favorites, give that I’m usually somewhat dissatisfied with the way the recipes turn out. Luckily, the recipes are usually a good 70% solution and I find it very easy to take their recipes and solve dissatisfaction with a few simple — and still healthy — substitutions. The original recipe for this dish called for (perfectly revolting) mushrooms but still lacked a thing or two in terms of taste and color. So I varied the cooking method a little bit, added in some much-needed flavor, and here is the result!

Quinoa pilaf with arugula

Quinoa Pilaf With Arugula and Sun-dried Tomatoes
Adapted from The New Mayo Clinic Cookbook
Serves 6

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup (6 oz) quinoa, well rinsed
2 1/4 cup chicken stock or vegetable stock
2 cups arugula (rocket), stemmed and chopped
1 small carrot, peeled and shredded or chopped into matchsticks
About 8 sun-dried tomatoes halves, julienned
Zest of 1 lemon
1/4 cup grated Parmesan cheese
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground pepper
In a small skillet, toast the quinoa over medium heat until fragrant and slightly browned.
In a large saucepan, heat the olive oil over medium heat. Add the onion and saute until soft and translucent, about 4 minutes. Add the garlic and quinoa and cook for about 1 minute, stirring occasionally. Do no let the garlic brown.
Add the stock about 1/2 cup at a time, letting the grains absorb the liquid before adding more (risotto-style). Just after you add the last bit of liquid, stir in the arugula, carrot, and sun-dried tomatoes and simmer until the liquid is completely absorbed and the grains have turned translucent, about 2 minutes.
Stir in the lemon zest and cheese and season with the salt and pepper. Serve immediately.

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