Quinoa is one of the few grains that I allow myself to eat in my usual diet. It's gluten-free and it's a very good source of plant-based protein. What I like about quinoa versus brown rice is that it has a nice fluffy texture which gives the dish a pleasant lightness. This dish is a delicious powerhouse of nutrition featuring a wide variety of healthy foods.
The entire process takes about an hour and fifteen minutes but a lot of that is simply waiting for the quinoa to cook. The time spent actively prepping and cooking the meal is about 30 minutes.
3 servings when served as a main entree.
- Tri-Color Quinoa (1 cup)
- Olive Oil
- Shiitake Mushrooms (1 large handful)
- Red Cabbage (a portion of 1 head)
- Elephant Garlic (1 bulb) [You can substitute 1/2 bulb of pre-peeled normal garlic)
- Carrots (3 - 4 depending on size)
- Baby Spinach (1 large handful)
- A Lemon
- Fresh Sprouts (this is not required but is a nice addition to the meal)
- The spices I typically use are salt, black pepper, cayenne pepper, and aleppo pepper
- A rice cooker is the most convenient, but a normal kitchen pot with a lid will work.
- A wok is preferable, but a large kitchen skillet and a large mixing bowl would also work.
- A set of wooden wok tools or other utensils to stir the contents of the wok while cooking.
- A small knife such as a paring knife and a cutting board for food prep.
1) Put 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of water into your rice cooker. Press the button on the machine for white rice.
(Alternatively, if you do not have a rice cooker, you can follow the directions on the package for cooking the quinoa in a kitchen pot.)
2) Go about your day and wait for the rice machine to make its the sound which indicates the quinoa is ready. Go ahead and leave the quinoa in the rice maker for now.
(Note: one time I tried to make the rest of the dish while the quinoa was cooking and it did not work out at all so I really suggest waiting for the quinoa to cook before proceeding.)
3) Remove the stems from the shiitake mushrooms and throw those away or compost them. Dice the mushroom caps and set them in the wok but don't start cooking them yet.
4) Open the garlic and remove the peel from the cloves. Dice the garlic and set it in the wok but don't start cooking it yet.
5) Take out the red cabbage and dice about a handful worth. Set the cabbage to the side in a bowl.
6) Dice the carrots and set them to the side in a bowl. You can put the carrots in the same container you have the cabbage in if that's more convenient.
7) Remember that the mushrooms and the garlic are in the wok. Add a nice pour of olive oil and then cook over medium-high heat for about five minutes until the mushrooms and garlic change color. You want to stir the mixture with the wok tools while it is cooking.
8) Add the cabbage and the carrots to the mixture cooking in the wok and continue stirring occassionally.
9) After about 3 minutes, add a handful of baby spinach as well. The spinach does not cook very long at all. You will know it is complete the the leaves curl up and shrink.
10) Remove from heat and turn off your stove.
11) Add your preferred spices. I typically add salt, pepper, cayenne pepper, and aleppo pepper. The aleppo pepper is not a very commonly known pepper where I live, but it has a very interesting, earthy hotness that comes on very faint and slowly builds over the course of the meal. It pairs well with cayenne pepper, which has a more typical, up-front spice profile.
12) Add the quinoa and mix it all together with your wok tools.
13) If available, add some fresh sprouts and mix those in as well.
14) Cut up a lemon and squeeze all the juice over the dish.
15) Scoop into bowls and serve!
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