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Creamy Quinoa

I have found that when it comes to my dietary restrictions, one of the issues I have is that I miss certain textures. I miss crunchy, for example. It’s a hard thing to come by when you can’t eat grains and starchy veggies.

I also miss  rich & creamy. Pasta in alfredo sauce. Mashed potatoes. Risotto.

Risotto is actually what led me to the following recipe. My doctor recently cleared me to eat quinoa so I have new options! I am so excited. Quinoa is often referred to as a grain, but is, in fact, more of a seed. Furthermore, it is closely related to leafy greens, which is pretty awesome. Never had quinoa? Check this out:

quinoa-infographic-large-green

I had some red quinoa on hand, and when my CSA box arrived, I was inspired by the smell of purple basil. What I really wanted was an amazing creamy risotto…or a basil cream sauce over pasta.

What I came up with was creamy quinoa.

I gathered my ingredients, All of my veggies/herbs were in my CSA box this week. Perfection. This could very easily be made into a vegan dish by skipping the cheese and subbing the butter. 🙂

1 pint of baby roma tomatoes

1 small white onion

3-4  cloves garlic

1 handful basil, finely chopped. (mine was purple…italian is good too.)

1/4 cup parm cheese (I think mozzarella would be yummy too!)

4 TBSP butter, divided

For the quinoa:

1 cup dry quinoa

2 tsp raw apple cider vinegar

1.5 cups water or bone broth

It was a very simple process and came together quickly. Just know that quinoa requires some soaking in order to remove the bitter coating on it. I always thought I hated quinoa until I learned to soak, and not just rinse it!

At least a few hours before preparing, soak your 1 cup of quinoa in about 1 cup of water. Add two tsp of raw apple cider vinegar (I always use bragg’s.) When you are ready to prepare it, rinse it really, really well, and add to your saucepan. Add the 1.5 cups of liquid (broth really makes a difference!) and bring to a boil. Once boiling, Put a lid on, drop the heat to low, and let it cook for about 15 minutes. You will know it is done with the liquid is gone, and all of your quinoa looks like it sprouted little white strings.

Set the quinoa aside.

In a blender or food processor, puree your onion.

Sautee the puree in 2 TBSP of butter.

While these are cooking, puree the tomatoes and garlic. ( I don’t rinse the processor out.)

Once the onion is translucent, add the tomato/garlic puree.

Cook until the liquid dissolves and it starts to thicken. (This took about 5-7 minutes)

Now, add the remaining butter, the parm cheese, and the quinoa. Toss until the cheese is melted and it starts to become creamy.

Top with basil at the very end, and toss to coat.

Serve  hot…or room temp…or cold. It’s good no matter what.

I topped mine with chicken breast…so yummy. I took a picture of it, but frankly, it doesn’t look appetizing. Terrible picture in bad lighting. Made it look like cafeteria food. 😉

It wasn’t risotto. Wasn’t pasta w/cream sauce, but it certainly was a tasty change from my usual protein + meat combination. Tasty, healthy, frugal and satisfying. Give it a try!

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