Garlic Parmesan Quinoa

So many of you asked for the recipe for this quinoa, so here it is!

I started making quinoa because I was looking for an accompaniment to one of our favorite fish dishes, and the hubs and I were trying to eat healthier. Plain quinoa is okay, but honestly it’s not my favorite. At some point I wondered, can I make quinoa RISOTTO??? I tried it a few times myself and it was fine, but then I found this original recipe on Pinterest. The recipe uses similar technique to what I was doing, but her recipe was more polished and flavorful. You can check it out for yourself; I was true to the recipe except for these changes:

*I do not stir the garlic in the oil. I just keep an eye on it and make sure it doesn’t burn. I do tilt the pot a little just to get it to cook evenly. I also don’t necessarily MINCE the garlic; I chop or finely chop it.

*When adding liquid is when I deviate most from her recipe:
– First add 1/2 cup white wine to ‘deglaze’ the toasted quinoa. I’ve used a variety of whites, but chardonnay is my favorite for this recipe. I just use a cheap one like Turning Leaf (around $10) because I don’t drink chardonnay much on its own. I always hope for a buttery, rather than oaky, chardonnay. Let the quinoa absorb the wine for at least a minute (and stir!) before adding the rest of the liquid.
– … Then add the rest of the liquid ( 1 1/4 cup). As long as I have it, I use chicken stock for this whole amount (I love Meijer Naturals). A few times (like tonight) I didn’t have enough, so I make up the difference with plain ol’ tap water. (NOTE: please do NOT try to substitute only water for the liquids; even if you use 1/2 c wine plus 1 1/4 cup water, the result will not be nearly as good.)

Then I let it come up to a boil; once it’s boiling I cover and simmer for 15 minutes. I have an electric stove/oven which runs hot, so you may have to adjust this time. After you make it a handful of times you’ll find your timing sweet spot. 🙂

Then I add the freshly grated parmesan cheese. Let’s face it, I likely use more than 1/2 cup because I love cheese. I never actually measure, I just eyeball it. I also have been adding a bit of crumbled goat cheese (probably only a tablespoon or so) for that extra creaminess and light earthy flavor.

At the very end I stir in some chopped green onion that I pull right out of my garden! (Did you know that green onion is SUPER hearty and easy to grow?? I never even planted this; I don’t know how long it’s been in the garden, but I sure do love using it all the time!)

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This quinoa is everything you want a ‘starch’ to be and more! It’s satisfying, it’s nutty, it’s creamy, it’s got a bit of texture still, it’s delicious – and it’s full of protein! Healthy! Plus, it’s easy!! Probably only 20-30 minutes from start to finish.

I make this once a week with our favorite fish dish, Salmon Florentine (which I have also changed up a bit since I originally wrote the recipe). It’s for sure one of my family’s favorite meals! (I won’t lie; at least once a week for lunch, our 2 year old C goes to the fridge and says, “I want salmon Mommy!” Yeah. I’ll take that!)

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