Learn something new each day – keep your eyes, ears and most of all your mind open.
That’s how I felt about quinoa. It’s just a tiny little grain, I thought… I’ll just use rice instead, I thought. Then I kept seeing recipes from friends that incorporated quinoa, so the next time I went to the store, there was a good deal on a big bag of organic – so I finally thought I’d give it a try. Boy am I glad I did!
I’m not a vegan or even vegetarian, but I have been trying to go gluten-free for awhile now (and failing miserably for the most part). This tiny little super food is a step in the right direction. It’s gluten-free! So those with gluten-intolerance, on a celiac diet or even those following the Body Ecology diet (for autism) can dig into this with glee!
I was so clueless about quinoa, I’ve even been pronouncing it wrong! It’s pronounced “keen-wah” and was originally harvested by the Incas… it makes me think I should look further into the Paleo diet that’s becoming more prevalent for healthy eaters out there.
Now, I didn’t start this post with the intention of it being educational, but I have found lots of good things to say about quinoa, so I thought I’d share:
- Complete protein. Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles.
- Magnesium helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and effects blood pressure. Quinoa contains high levels of this vital nutrient.
- Fiber. Quinoa is a wonderful way to ensure that you consume valuable fiber that eases elimination and tones your colon.
- Manganese and copper. Quinoa is a good source of these minerals that act as antioxidants in your body to get rid of dangerous cancer and disease-causing substances.
If you want to know more, I found my information here.
Now, let’s get down to business!
Sausage, Apple and Honey-Garlic Quinoa
Ingredients for this recipe:
- sausage (optional – this is supposed to be vegan, but I’m a meat-eater)
- 1 small apple
- garlic powder
- lemon juice
- olive oil
- salt and pepper
For the Almonds:
Take an approximate 1/4 cup of whole almonds, throw them on a rimmed baking sheet, and put in a preheated 375 degree oven for up to 7 minutes… they will start getting really fragrant – that’s when you want to take them out. Chop finely.
Making the Quinoa:
Rinse the quinoa in a very fine sieve. The aforementioned website says to soak for 8 hours to eliminate the phytic acid. I did not do this step, but I did do a rinse.
- To cook, just take 2 cups of water per 1 cup of quinoa and put in a medium saucepan. For this recipe, that was enough.
- Once the pan comes to a boil, reduce to medium-low, cover and let sit for about 15 minutes – until the water is evaporated and the quinoa is a little chewy, a little crunchy.
- Fluff with a fork, just like rice.
Making the Sausage:
Not literally making it from scratch… I’m not that ambitious! We had bought 3 1 lb sausages, so I cut it in half and sliced and diced it – the best I can describe it is, when you slice the sausage into rounds, cut each round into 1/4s.
I didn’t do anything special to it except toss it in a pan and warm it up. The kind we bought had a really strong flavor, so I didn’t want to detract from the rest of the dish by overwhelming it.
Making the Dressing:
I’m not one for measuring when I’m cooking (only when I’m baking!), so I will attempt to approximate what I used.
- 2 tbsp honey
- 1 tbsp garlic powder
- pinch of salt
- pepper to taste
- 2 tbsp olive oil (or more)
- juice of half a lemon
- Put honey, garlic powder, salt and pepper in a small cup or bowl (something with enough room to stir vigorously)
- Add oil, a little at a time; stir until well combined; add lemon juice and stir vigorously (I would have whisked, but I was using a small cup and even my little whisk wouldn’t fit)
I suggest you taste it at this point and add more of whatever ingredient you need. Mine originally had a really strong olive oil taste, so I added more honey and garlic powder, till it was just right.
For the Apple:
I was told the best way was to slice it really thin… like, 1/8 inch slices. That was NOT happening, so I just cut 1 apple into cubes, then halved the cubes to make them manageable. Chop this at the last moment to keep it fresh.
- When the quinoa is done, add the sausage, apple and almonds to pan; stir to combine.
- Pour the dressing over the whole thing an stir until coated.