Cooking Spree: Warm Mediterranean Quinoa Salad

Quinoa. 

KEEN-wah. KEEN-wah.  KEEN-wah.

I just like saying it.

As of late, I am obsessed with quinoa, that mysterious little grain. I was first introduced years ago at the Columbus Circle Whole Foods salad bar, when I took a sample of the quinoa salad. I think it was curried, with raisins and almonds, which is not always my favorite. But I fell in love with the odd, chewy, nuttiness of quinoa, how it sort of pops when you eat it and how each kernel has that weird little string of a tail. Then I learned it was actually good for you, as a protein-packed whole grain. Gotta get your whole grains in, people. I had just never cooked it myself.

A few weeks ago I was thrilled to find quinoa at Trader Joe’s, though I think it’s universally available in average supermarkets. Just check the rice aisle. I wasted most of that first box on two botched attempts at preparing it, but after some Internet research, I think I’m on the right track. You should rinse the quinoa but then don’t add too much water or cook it too long. You’ll have mush, trust me. Delicious mush, but mush just the same. (I still ate it.) This time I used 1 cup of dry quinoa to just under 1 1/2 cups of chicken broth, cooked like rice — bring to boil, cover and reduce to low — for 10-15 minutes. Near perfection. Keep reading »