Thursday, March 6, 2014

Asian Style Pilaf - Mung Bean Sprouts With Mushroom Veggie Quinoa

Quinoa! Food of the Gods! Truly it is! We love quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah) because it accepts any flavor combination from sweet to savory, making it one of the most adaptable foods on the planet. This valuable gluten-free source of protein is a nutty delight and a popular wonder food for good reason. Indeed it's chock full of nutritious B vitamins such as folate, thiamin, riboflavin, and a B6 source of manganese, magnesium, phosphorus, copper, iron, and zinc. It's goodness goes beyond flavor.

Quinoa is a seed and not a grain, and is prepared similar to rice. One cup of Quinoa to two cups of water, makes 3 cups of cooked fluffy Quinoa. Mix it with a sauce, and various veggies. So easy! Just check out my other quinoa posts: Quinoa cold veggie salad, Sweet Breakfast Quinoa, and Quinoa veggie bean burgers to view how versatile this food is to have in your pantry. Say it again...Keen-Wah...Keen-Wah...Keen-Wah! 

The seeds come in cream, black, and red colors, which you can mix together to make your own rainbow Quinoa. To get the most out of the more expensive colored quinoa, just place a variety of the quinoa colors into a mason jar, then add in more of the cheaper cream colored Quinoa. Ta-da! Rainbow quinoa! Using a mason jar funnel keeps those tiny seeds from running all over your kitchen counter hiding under things! Then I usually take 1/2 cup of rainbow quinoa from my mason jar mix, add that into a measuring cup of 1/2 cup cream colored quinoa... stretching out that rainbow mix even more! 

Be sure to place your quinoa seeds into a mesh strainer and rinse before cooking to remove the mildly bitter saponines. Sometimes I forget, although I can say that the quinoa never tasted bad to me either way. So don't feel bad if you forget too. Some brands of quinoa come pre-washed and may save you the step. Use organic and fair trade quinoa if possible. All of our ingredients are organic. Do the best that you can.

Every week we usually have some type of quinoa pilaf mixed with whatever veggies are in the kitchen. So this recipe is an example of one of those evening meals with an asian twist. You can add or subtract whatever items you have at your home because quinoa is so forgiving and adaptable to all flavor combinations. You can make extra quinoa just for the leftovers, and then use it in your next day's breakfast, or dinner salad. Here's what to mix together to re-live your old days of Chinese take-out food:

Asian Style Pilaf - Mung Bean Sprouts 
With Mushroom Veggie Quinoa

1 cup rainbow or plain Quinoa
spring water
box vegetable broth
1/2 cup sliced mushrooms of choice 
1/2 green pepper
1/2 purple pepper 
1/3 sliced onion 
1/2 cup chopped spinach
2-3 chopped leaves Swiss chard

2 tbs balsamic glaze
3 tbs coconut aminos
1 tbs coconut palm sugar

chopped tomato
1/2 chopped red sweet pepper
handful mung bean sprouts

sliced almonds

Mandarin orange slices
Pineapple chunks

Add 1 cup of rinsed quinoa to 2 cups boiling water or vegetable broth. I usually use water first and then add the broth to the mixture in the saute pan later, as you will see in directions below. Although if you prefer, you can use the vegetable broth in both instances for more intense flavor. Bring the quinoa to rapid boil, turn down, simmer covered for 10 minutes, or until water evaporates. Do not let burn.  

When cooked quinoa is fluffed with a fork it should look like the rainbow quinoa in the photo above. Notice the little white ringlets that have busted out of the seeds. Remove pan from burner. Set aside covered. 

While quinoa is cooking mix the coconut aminos, balsamic glaze, and coconut palm sugar into a small bowl. Then saute onions, sliced mushrooms, purple and green peppers, with a small bit of water in a saute pan for a few minutes. Add in Swiss chard leaves, plus fresh or frozen spinach. If you only have one or the other of the greens or the peppers that is fine. Stir a few times till the greens are wilted. 

Add in the cooked quinoa and stir together. Add enough vegetable broth into pan to soak into the quinoa. Then pour in the coconut aminos and the balsamic glaze mixture. Toss in a handful of almonds, pecans and organic raisins. Stir all lightly again. That's it folks!

Plate the cooked quinoa pilaf mixture. Top with fresh tomatoes, sweet red peppers, and then garnish generously with the fresh mung bean sprouts. If you have any mandarin orange slices or pineapple chunks they would go well with these flavors too. Try to avoid using old fashioned soy sauce on your Asian style pilaf as it is full of salt and MSG. Use instead the bottles of sweet balsamic glaze sauce and the coconut aminos, to flavor your individual pilaf serving according to your own taste preference. 

I think you will love the combination of warm broth flavored quinoa and greens, the cold crispness of the sprouts and sweet red peppers, the savory fresh tomatoes, the sweet chewy raisins, and the crunchy nuts. If you have orange slices or pineapple chunks they would add extra sweetness too. Go ahead and add that glorious generous drizzle of coconut aminos and balsamic glaze to your bowl. Oh My! A very healthy substitute for "Chinese take-out" cravings. Yes you can feel great about eating this Asian quinoa pilaf! 

Warning: You will want seconds... And that is okay!!!! Keen-Wah! Yeah baby!

I hope those of you new to cooking quinoa will try this simple Asian style pilaf, so that you can at a moment's notice quickly make a delicious quinoa dish for your family! Be sure to serve with a fresh side salad too. 

Be Happy. Be Healthy. Be Peace. Much love!

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