I’m continually on the lookout for new side dishes. On a weekly basis my old standbys of potatoes, pasta and rice get boring. I’m also acutely aware of the overflowing shelves that characterize my pantry. I have enough food in there to feed a small country and with a move on the horizon I really need to start “cooking down” my supply. When I came across a bag of red quinoa that my mom had sent me I decided to try my hand at this new-to-me grain.
After researching how to cook these tiny red pellets I headed into the kitchen to experiment and I think my results were pretty tasty. Much to my surprise quinoa cooks up quickly making it a perfect accompaniment to just about any dinner. I served it alongside a maple and soy glazed salmon as a Fast Friday meal. Glenn even thinks the dish is dinner worthy for guests so I guess that says it all.
CHERRY PECAN QUINOA PILAF
1/4 cup whole pecans
1 cup red quinoa
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, minced
2 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
juice of one orange
3/4 cup fresh cherries
- Toast the pecans in a small saucepan over medium-high heat until brown and crunchy. Allow to cool. Once cool, coarsely chop the pecans.
- Rinse the quinoa in cool water and thoroughly drain.
- Heat the olive oil in a large skillet over medium-high heat.
- When the oil is hot add the minced garlic and stir for one minute.
- Add the quinoa and allow to cook until the grains are dry and most of them have opened; about 5 minutes.
- Add the water and salt to the pan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat to medium-low and cover. Continue to simmer until the grains are fully cooked, 18-20 minutes.
- Add the orange juice and cherries and stir until combined. Cook for an additional 2 minutes to allow the flavors to meld.
- Remove the pan from the heat, stir in the toasted pecans, and serve immediately.