Quinoa

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RECIPE AND PHOTOS BY MEGAN GORDON

quinoa

Food trends have a way of coming on quick and fizzling out in much the same way. When I started to see quinoa on even the most casual restaurant menus, I had a feeling it was destined for burnout, but surprisingly (and thankfully) it seems to have some real staying power. And for good reason. This naturally gluten-free grain is extremely quick-cooking, has a light and fluffy texture, and a mild flavor. One of the reasons quinoa won’t disappear from my radar is its versatility: In addition to using it as a fluffy pilaf-style side dish, I love tossing the raw grains into baked goods for added crunch and flavor, swapping it into porridge recipes, and using it as the base for whole grain bowls and salads.

When shopping for quinoa, you’ll notice it comes in a few colors (red, tan, black) and each has a slightly different flavor so feel free to try them all to see which you like best. When you get home, you’ll want to rinse the grains to remove the naturally occurring – and often bitter – outer coating, saponin. But beyond that, whether you prefer it raw or cooked, red or tan, or hot or cold, quinoa’s an easy grain to like. If you feel like you’ve ‘been there, done that,’ I encourage you to try one of the recipes in this month’s issue. I have a hunch they’ll reawaken your interest in this tiny grain, and may even become household favorites as they have for us.

COCONUT CASHEW QUINOA GRANOLA

quinoa gronola

Since I happen to own a local cereal company, Marge Granola, I have the opportunity to constantly experiment in the kitchen with different combinations and flavors that excite me. This not-too-sweet blend of toasty cashews and almonds, fragrant coconut, and quinoa is a current favorite. The raw quinoa adds a delightful, addictive crunch when baked making it the perfect yogurt topping or fresh fruit sprinkle. Do yourself a favor and be sure to toast the coconut separately (as the instructions indicate) as it burns quickly.

Serves 6 | start to finish: 45 minutes

1 1/2 (70g) cup unsweetened coconut chips
2 3/4 cups (275g) rolled oats
1 cup (135g) raw quinoa, rinsed
1 cup (135g) cashews, roughly chopped
1 cup (80g) sliced almonds
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil (or olive of your choice)
Fresh, seasonal fruit for serving

Preheat oven to 300°F. Lay coconut out on a parchment-lined baking sheet and toast until golden brown and fragrant, 5–7 minutes. Set aside to cool. Increase oven temperature to 325 F.

In a large mixing bowl, add oats, quinoa, cashews, almonds, salt, cinnamon, cardamom and whisk together well. Add the vanilla extract, maple syrup and oil and mix well so all of the dry ingredients are fully incorporated.

Turn the granola out onto a parchment-lined half-sheet pan and bake for about 30 minutes, or until the mixture is light brown and toasty. Every 10–15 minutes, stir to prevent burning. Once out of the oven, fold in the toasted coconut. Let the granola cool completely before serving — it will firm up as it cools.

gluten-free (if using gluten-free oats) • vegetarian vegan • dairy free

SMOKED SALMON AND QUINOA SLIDERS WITH HERBED SOUR CREAM

quinoa sliderWhen I was pregnant last fall, I made a concerted effort to eat my fair share of wild salmon. Roasting it got old after awhile, so I set out to create a recipe that felt a bit more special and less dutiful. My efforts resulted in these mini sliders, a most addictive little patty packed with protein and vitamin-rich salmon and quinoa, perfect for special weekday lunches or substantial party snacks. The good news is that these patties come together quickly and can easily be prepped in advance: simply make and shape them ahead of time and refrigerate, covered, for up to 2 days until ready to cook off. Or cook them all off, let them cool, then cover and refrigerate for up to 4 days. Warm them in a 300°F oven when ready to serve.

Serves 4-6 | start to finish: 50 minutes Makes 10–11 sliders

For the sliders

1/2 cup (90g) quinoa, rinsed and drained
8 ounces smoked salmon, shredded into 1⁄4-inch pieces
3 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
2 green onions, white and light green parts, finely chopped (about 3 tablespoons)
2 large eggs, beaten
1/2 cup (70g) bread crumbs
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1 tablespoon capers, drained
1 garlic clove, minced
1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more if needed
10–11 mini slider rolls
Hearty lettuce, to serve (optional)

For the Herbed Sour Cream

1/3 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon chopped dill
1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
Pinch kosher salt

Add the quinoa and 1 cup water to a small saucepan and bring to a boil over medium heat. Reduce the heat, cover and cook on low until grains have absorbed most of the water, about 15 minutes. Remove from heat and allow quinoa to sit, covered, for additional 10 minutes. Fluff and uncover. Allow to cool completely.

In a medium mixing bowl, add the salmon, parsley, green onion, eggs, breadcrumbs, Dijon, capers and garlic. Once the quinoa has cooled completely, fold that in as well along with the salt and pepper. Knead for just a moment with your hands to ensure the mixture is well combined. Let sit for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the Herbed Sour Cream: whisk together the sour cream, dill, chives, lemon zest and salt. Set aside.

Divide the quinoa mixture into 10–11 small sliders (use a heaping 1⁄4-cup portion, and form each into 3/4-inch cakes). Place on a large plate to await cooking.

Line a large plate with paper towels. Pour the olive oil into a heavy-bottom skillet over medium heat. Once the oil is hot and almost shimmering, place 4–5 of the patties in the pan and cook until the bottom is golden brown, about 3–4 minutes. Flip and cook the second side for an additional 3–4 minutes. Place the cooked cakes on the lined plate to drain off any excess oil. Repeat with remaining patties, adding a little extra oil as needed between batches if the cakes begin to stick to the pan.

To serve: Cut slider rolls in half, and place one salmon patty on bottom half. Top with dollop of herbed sour cream and a few small pieces of hearty greens.

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