Quinoa is my new favorite superfood. It is a protein-rich seed with a fluffy, slightly crunchy texture and somewhat of a nutty flavor. Although some consider it to be a grain, it is actually a relative to spinach and swiss chard, which is why some people eat it on Pesach. It is similar to couscous, with a chewier texture and more health benefits.
I first tasted mushroom quinoa at the newly opened Fresh Cafe in North Miami Beach back in March. The cafe was opened by the owners of The Fresh Diet with an emphasis on healthy, wholesome foods. They offer a classic breakfast menu, whole wheat pizza with various toppings, paninis, wraps, salads (with blue cheese crumbles and goat cheese) and smoothies. Although their menu includes some less-than-healthy options such as a buttered NY bagel, they encourage healthy eating (their menu notes: “heavy white pizza available upon request”). The winning items on the menu include a list of gourmet sandwiches including a Balsamic Glazed Roasted Vegetable Sandwich with Fresh Basil and Feta, Tarragon-Infused Salmon with Cheddar on a Spinach Tortilla, Balsamic-Reduction-Glazed Mushrooms, Shallots and Swiss Cheese on Seven Grain Bread, among others. I ordered a nicoise salad, which they served with sweet potatoes as a healthy alternative to the classic red potatoes. My husband had grilled salmon with a side of quinoa and roasted vegetables. Both were healthy-sized portions, flavorful and filling.
After tasting the quinoa there, I started making it more often at home. It has become a staple around here, served hot alongside a chicken dinner, or cold, as a salad at Shabbos lunch. My husband, and kids absolutely love it (as long as I call it “couscous” my kids are good!). This is, by far, our favorite recipe.
NOTE: I use Trader Joe’s low sodium vegetable broth in this recipe. It is fat free, low calorie, gluten free and organic. The stock is made using a variety of organic vegetables as well as carrot and onion juice concentrate and tomato paste which gives it a reddish tinge. The broth adds a delicious tomato-y flavor to the quinoa. If you cannot get Trader Joe’s broth, you can use Imagine, and add a tsp of tomato paste to the vegetables while they are sauteeing.
2 cups quinoa, rinsed until water runs clear and drained well
3 cups vegetable or chicken broth
1 container mushrooms, cleaned and diced into quarters
2 shallots, thinly sliced
1 handful of shredded carrots
1 tsp salt
olive oil for sauteeing
Saute shallots in oil for 2-3 minutes. Add mushrooms and carrots. continuing to sautee for a few minutes, until carrots have softened. Add rinsed quinoa and mix until toasted and fragrant. In a separate pot, boil broth with 1 tsp of salt. Add broth to quinoa. Simmer, covered, on a low flame, for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork before serving.
The Fresh Cafe
2214 NE 123rd Street
North Miami, FL 33181
Kosher Miami, cholov and pas Yisrael