October 22, 2008

Pineapple and Cashew Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wa”) is one of my favorite grains. There are so many wonderful properties of quinoa – great flavor, high in protein and oh so easy to prepare! Quinoa is a grain that is somewhat new in the United States. However, it has been a staple in the diet of South Americans for thousands of years. Quinoa is high in protein – 6 grams per ¼ cup (uncooked). And, even better, is that it is a complete protein, meaning it provides all eight of the essential amino acids! Quinoa is also a great source of manganese, magnesium and copper. It has a nutty flavor, is great by itself or with lots of ingredients added to it, and can be served hot or cold. It is important to rinse the quinoa before cooking, though. Just put it in a large bowl, cover with water and rinse it well. Pour it all into a fine mesh colander and you’re ready to cook!
Here is one of my favorite ways to eat quinoa. It’s a little bit involved, but trust me, it is worth it!

Pineapple Cashew Quinoa

1 cup quinoa – don’t forget to rinse it!
1 cup pineapple juice
1 cup water
¼ tsp. gluten-free tamari
½ cup cashews, unsalted
3 Tbsp. peanut oil
2 scallions, thinly sliced
2 cloves of garlic, minced
1 inch piece of ginger, minced
1 red bell pepper, diced
1 cup of cooked edamame
handful of fresh basil, chopped
half a handful of fresh mint, chopped
1 cup fresh pineapple (bite-sized chunks)
3 Tbsp. gluten-free tamari
3 Tbsp. chicken stock
1 Tbsp. mirin


  • Make the quinoa – Combine quinoa, pineapple juice, water and tamari to a pot. Cover and bring to a boil. Lower heat to medium low, cover and cook for approximately 14 minutes, until all liquid is absorbed and quinoa is cooked (slightly translucent). When done, uncover and let cool. Once cool, place in the refrigerator until needed (can be left over night)

  • In a large skillet or wok, heat the cashews until lightly toasted (approximately 5 minutes). Remove from pan and set aside.

  • On medium heat, add peanut oil, scallions and garlic. When garlic starts to sizzle, add the ginger and stir-fry for about 2 minutes. Add bell pepper and edamame. Stir fry until the edamame is bright green.

  • Add the basil and the mint, stir for a moment, then add the pineapple and the quinoa

  • In a small bowl, combine the tamari, chicken stock and mirin. Pour this mixture over the quinoa. Stir well and evenly coat the quinoa mixture. Continue to stir-fry for approximately 13 minutes. Be careful not to let the quinoa mixture burn. You will want to stir often.

  • Once the quinoa mixture is very hot, take off heat and serve immediately. Enjoy!
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