Saturday, July 10, 2010

Quinoa with Spinach, Mint and Feta

Lately I have been using a lot of quinoa in my cooking, mostly as cold or room temperature "salads". Quinoa is not local, but of all the grains it is the highest in protein, so if you are cutting back on your animal proteins, quinoa is a good grain choice. Also, it is gluten free. I am including this recipe in here because most of the ingredients I added to the quinoa are local, like this Narragansett Creamery Feta -- it is pricier than the store bought brand that you can get in a plastic tub at the market -- but it is much better in my opinion.

This spinach is from the farmer's market:

And I added mint and green onions from my own garden, garlic that a friend gave me from Casey Farms.

I love my pretty green Fire King mixing bowls:

Here is the recipe:

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
2 Tbsp. olive oil + 2 Tbsp for later
4 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup chopped green onions or chives
4 cups torn spinach or whole baby spinach
1/3 cup chopped fresh mint
2 Tbsp. fresh squeezed lemon juice
1/3 cup chopped feta
1/4 cup chopped kalamata olives

Rinse the quinoa real well in a fine mesh strainer. Quinoa has a natural insect repellent, saponin, which is very bitter, but that washes off.
Heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in skillet or dutch oven, add the garlic and saute about 1 minute. Add the quinoa & mix with garlic, cook 1 minute more. Add the water, cover the pan and turn off the burner, let sit for 10 minutes (you will be using passive heating, another way to save electricity and $$).
While the quinoa is cooking, crumble the feta, chop the mint, green onions and olives, and squeeze the lemon.
After 10 minutes, add the chopped or whole spinach, to the quinoa, cover again and leave for about 3 minutes. Remove from stove and dump into a large mixing bowl, blend to mix quinoa and spinach. Add the green onions and the other 2 Tbsp olive oil and squeezed lemon. At this point, I put it into the refrigerator to cool off. If I am taking this dish somewhere, I carry the olives, feta and mint seperately, these I add just before serving. If it is a little dry, add a bit more olive oil and blend.

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