Gluten Free Quinoa Pilaf Recipe
I’m a little late jumping on the quinoa bandwagon. It’s not that I didn’t like quinoa; it’s just that I had never tried it. And trust me; I know how ridiculous that sounds. As a lover of food, a gluten-free recipe developer and publisher of a gluten-free blog, one would naturally assume I did all sorts of things with this gluten-free super food.
After all, quinoa is naturally gluten-free, high in protein and as it turns out, delicious.
It wasn’t until my vegetarian, as well as gluten-free, son started extolling the virtues of quinoa that I was tempted to try some.
My first attempt, following the package directions to the letter, yielded a mushy, somewhat flavorless mass of stuff. I was unimpressed.
But persistence is one of my virtues. So I toyed around with various cooking methods until I became a newly minted, card carrying quinoa lover!
Firstly, I toasted the quinoa before adding water. This intensified the nutty taste.
Secondly, I looked for ways to bump up the flavor quotation without overwhelming the flavor of the quinoa itself. I tried cooking it in chicken stock but that made the quinoa taste like chicken. (This is where we stop and reflect on all those “tastes like chicken” jokes.) So I did the job with onions, garlic, herbs and toasted nuts.
Thirdly, I decreased the cooking liquid, which resulted in a beautiful batch of fluffy (not mushy) quinoa.
This gluten free quinoa pilaf makes a great accompaniment to my chicken piccata recipe and, at the risk of sounding like Rachael Ray, with the addition of an arugula and shaved Parmesan salad, you can get an entire elegant meal on the table in about half an hour.
Click here to see my cooking demonstration of this recipe on Daytime TV!
Gluten Free Quinoa Pilaf Recipe
3 teaspoons olive oil, divided
½ cup finely minced white or yellow onion (about ½ of a medium onion)
1 cup quinoa
1 garlic clove, finely minced
1½ cups water
1 teaspoon kosher or sea salt
¼ cup slivered almonds
1 green onion (white and green part) finely minced
¼ cup Italian flat leaf parsley, finely minced
Heat 1 teaspoon olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the minced white or yellow onion and cook for about 2 minutes or until the onions are starting to get translucent. Add the quinoa and garlic and cook for about 3 minutes. You want the quinoa to lightly toast but you do not want the garlic to get browned. Add the water and salt. Raise heat, bring to a full boil, cover pan with a lid and turn heat down to medium-low. Let simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
While quinoa is simmering toast the almond slivers in a dry skillet over high heat until they are browned and fragrant, stirring often. Watch them carefully so they do not burn. Take off heat and set aside.
When the quinoa is done, remove from heat and let sit in pan covered for about 3 minutes. Put in serving bowl and fluff with a fork. Add the minced green onion, parsley and toasted almonds. Drizzle with remaining 2 teaspoons of olive oil and toss. Taste and add salt and pepper if needed.
This Gluten Free Quinoa Pilaf Recipe serves 4.
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