Quinoa is one of those superfoods that has been getting a lot of attention recently. But I will admit that I was a latecomer to the quinoa bandwagon. I really wanted to like it, but every time I tried it, I found it bitter and/or grassy-tasting. Then I decided to host a dinner during Passover last year, and The New York Times Food Section ran a big story about the general (though, admittedly, not universal) consensus that this South American grain most people hadn’t even heard of until recently is, in fact, kosher for Passover. I resolved to conquer quinoa—if I couldn’t make it taste good, there would just be one less superfood in my world. So, I bought pre-rinsed quinoa then rinsed it a few more times, to wash off the natural residue that makes it bitter. And I cooked it in stock and with other flavorful ingredients to give it a more robust flavor. A few other add-ins, and I had a great Passover side dish (or protein-rich main dish for vegetarians) that even a quinoa skeptic like me enjoyed.
Saffron Quinoa Pilaf
© Courtney Weiner. All Rights Reserved.
Total time: 20 min.
Yield: 4 servings
- 1 medium shallot, minced
- 1 tbsp olive oil
- 1 cup quinoa, pre-rinsed then well-rinsed again
- 2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
- ¼ tsp saffron threads, lightly crushed
- ¼ cup slivered or sliced almonds, toasted
- ¼ cup dried cranberries (may substitute other dried fruit)
- Salt to taste
Heat olive oil over medium-high heat in a 1 ½ quart pot. Add shallot and sauté until translucent, 1-2 minutes. Add in quinoa and cook, stirring, for 1-2 minutes. Stir in stock and saffron and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer. Cover and cook for 10-15 minutes, until all stock is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with fork and salt to taste. Stir in almond and cranberries.