Posted by Olivia on Monday, October 25th, 2010
Quinoa is a whole grain that I just adore. It’s the one grain I actually keep stocked in bulk in my pantry and hold no regrets about eating regularly. It’s gluten-free, easy to digest, and is one of the few vegetable foods that is a complete protein. So on meatless days, it becomes a nutritious (and affordable!) entrée.
The dried kernels of quinoa look like tiny opaque seeds, and they cook up into soft, chewy granules of sweet and nutty flavor. When quinoa cooks, it takes up and absorbs the liquid it cooks in. For this reason, it works great with flavorful stocks, vinaigrettes, and other yummy sauces that get stirred into it. What better way to take advantage of this tasty trait than to use some or our extra virgin olive oils and make a zesty, savory pilaf?
This recipe incorporates grated raw beets, which are sweet and surprisingly quite mild in flavor, and fresh lemons, which are tangy and citrusy, to make a bright quinoa pilaf. Finished off with lots of parsley and our Limonato Extra Virgin Olive Oil, it makes for a simply uplifting recipe that doubles as a side dish or a stand-alone entree.
You’ll notice that the grated beets are stirred into the cooked quinoa before the rest of the ingredients. This is an important step, as the beets release their juices and will stain the quinoa a beautiful magenta color. If you were to mix in the parsley and lemon zest at this stage, the beets would stain those, too, a pink color. But adding them after the beets have released their liquids, they provide a stunning contrast of colors, with the magenta quinoa against the yellow lemon zest and the green parsley.