So before I really got into cooking earlier this year, I had never heard of Quinoa (pronounced kinwa). After a little research, I discovered it was a grain-like seed that was cultivated by the Incas in the Andean region of South America…who knew right?
In Quechua, the language of the Incas, quinoa means the “mother of all grains.” Though it is not technically a grain, nutritionally it is similar, being high in dietary fiber. It is also an excellent source of protein, especially for all you vegetarians out there!
I made a few recipes with quinoa pre-blog, and had some lying around when I came across a recipe for a quinoa stir-fry in Self. I made a few changes, adding a couple of ingredients and swapping chicken for tofu to make it more vegetarian friendly. With this recipe I think you can basically swap in whatever veggies and protein you have on hand, and it would be great!
The first step is to rinse the quinoa. Make sure you have a strainer with very tiny holes, otherwise you will lose a lot of it! Also, the quinoa I happened to on hand was a red variety, usually it is more of an off-white or cream color.
Once the quinoa is cooking, get started with the stir-fry. Make sure to prep all the ingredients in advance and have everything out and ready because it cooks up pretty fast.
Cook the veggies in a skillet, adding the garlic, ginger, lime and chili sauce mixture when tender.
Once that is mixed together and starts getting fragrant, toss in the tofu, snow peas, rice vinegar and some soy sauce.
Cook mixture until tofu is warm and has absorbed the sauce.
Add the cooked quinoa to the skillet with additional soy sauce.
Let it all cook together for a bit and serve!
This is a great dish to cook post-work and take for lunch the next day. It keeps really well for a day, but you might be pushing it after that, so just keep that in mind!
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 tsp salt, divided
1 tbsp vegetable oil
2 small carrots, thinly sliced
1 medium yellow pepper, cored, seeded and chopped
2 tsp grated ginger
2 cloves garlic, sliced
2 tbsp lime juice, fresh
1/2 tsp Thai red chili paste
1 cup snow peas
1 package (12 oz) firm tofu, cubed
2 scallions, chopped
2 tbsp soy sauce, divided
1 tbsp rice vinegar
Prep all ingredients
Put quinoa in a small sauce pan with 3/4 cup water and 1/4 tsp salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat, cover and let cook for about 15 minutes. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork and set aside.
While quinoa is cooking, heat oil in a large skillet.
Add carrots and stir, cook until soft, about 2 minutes.
Add yellow pepper and stir until soft, about 2 minutes.
In a small bowl, combine ginger, garlic, chili paste and lime juice. Mix until combined.
Add to skillet, cook until flavors become fragrant, about 3 minutes.
Add snow peas and tofu, along with remaining 1/4 tsp salt, rice vinegar and 1 tbsp soy sauce.
Cook, stirring frequently, about 4 minutes until tofu is heated through.
Add quinoa and remaining 1 tbsp soy sauce. Cook and stir for an additional 2 minutes.
Serve topped with scallions.
Yields 4 servings.