Quinoa reigns supreme

Quinoa has become quite a Passover phenomenon over the last few years.

Quinoa reigns supreme (photo credit: Courtesy)
Quinoa reigns supreme
(photo credit: Courtesy)
While many consider quinoa not kosher for Passover, the Chicago Rabbinical Council (cRc) approves the use of whole grain quinoa for Passover as long as it is imported exclusively from Bolivia and packed by companies that pack whole grain quinoa exclusively.
The quinoa must be carefully inspected by hand before Passover. This is done by spreading quinoa, one layer at a time, on a board or plate, and check to be sure that there are no other grains or foreign matter mixed in with the quinoa. This type of inspection would not help with Quinoa flour, pasta or any other version of quinoa which is not permitted on Passover.
I enjoy cooking with quinoa for many reasons. First, although it is not a grain (it’s a berry), it has a light grain-like texture so it feels filling and satiating on Passover. It’s a great alternative to potatoes and is full of protein. I make it year round with black beans and corn and other interesting ingredients like edamame. For Passover, I like these salads and main dish chicken recipes that include quinoa.
Quinoa Salad with Cucumbers, Orange Zest, and raisins Serves 8
• 2 cups quinoa • 2 1/2 cups chicken broth or vegetable stock • 4 scallions, light and white green part only, thinly sliced • 1/2 cup chopped raisins • 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar • 1/2 cup fresh orange juice • 1 teaspoon grated orange zest • 1 teaspoon Dijon mustard for Passover • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin for Passover • 1 cucumber, peeled, halved, seeded and chopped • 1/2 cup chopped flat-leaf parsley • Salt • Freshly ground black pepper
Place the quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve and rinse under cold water until the water runs clear. Bring the chicken stock to a boil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and return to a boil. Reduce the heat to low, cover, and simmer the quinoa until it has expanded fully, about 20 to 25 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and set aside to cool.
Place the cooled quinoa in a large bowl. Add the scallions, raisins, rice vinegar, orange juice and zest, Dijon mustard, olive oil, cumin, cucumber and parsley and toss to combine. Season with salt and pepper, to taste, cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until cold, then serve.Quinoa Salad with Carrots and Sweet Cider Serves 4
I saw this recipe in Bon Appetit Magazine and thought it sounded interesting. With a few tweaks it makes an amazing side dish for Passover. I sometimes add some nuts for crunch.
• 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well in a fine-mesh sieve • Kosher salt • 1/2 small onion, chopped • 1/4 cup olive oil plus more for baking sheet • 2 tablespoons apple cider• 2 tablespoons honey • Freshly ground black pepper • 3 medium carrots peeled, thinly sliced on a diagonal • 1 tablespoon apple cider vinegar • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice • 1/2 cup raisins • 2 tablespoons coarsely chopped fresh dill • 1 head Bibb or butter lettuce, leaves torn
Preheat oven to 450° F. Bring quinoa and four cups lightly salted water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer until quinoa is tender, 10-15 minutes. Add onion; cook for 1 minute longer. Drain; return quinoa mixture to saucepan, cover, and let sit for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a large bowl; let cool.
Meanwhile, lightly coat a large rimmed baking sheet with oil. Whisk cider and honey in a large bowl to blend; season with salt and pepper. Add carrots and toss to coat. Transfer to prepared baking sheet and roast until tender, 15-20 minutes. Let cool.
Whisk vinegar, lemon zest, and lemon juice in a small bowl. Gradually add 1/4 cup oil, whisking until dressing is blended. Season vinaigrette with salt and pepper.
Add raisins, dill, carrots, and half of vinaigrette to quinoa mixture and toss to coat. Add lettuce and remaining vinaigrette and toss to combine.Apricot Chicken with Quinoa Almond Pilaf Serves 8 Chicken • 1 cup apricot preserves • 4 tablespoons kosher for Passover mustard • 4 tablespoons red wine • 2 teaspoons kosher salt • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, or black pepper• 1/2 teaspoon garlic powder• 2 chickens cut up in 1/8’s
• 2 cups quinoa• 2 cups chicken broth• 1 onion, chopped• 1 teaspoon sugar• 2 tablespoons balsamic vinegar• 2 tablespoons olive oil• ½ teaspoon kosher salt• ½ teaspoon black pepper, or to taste• ½ cup raisins• ½ cup basil, finely chopped• ½ cup sliced almonds, toasted
For the chicken:
Whisk the preserves, mustard, red wine, salt, cayenne, and garlic powder together in a baking dish. Add the chicken and turn to coat in the marinade. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour or preferably overnight, turning occasionally.
Preheat the oven to 350 ° F.
Uncover the chicken and the marinade and place in the oven and bake until the chicken is golden and cooked through, 50 – 75 minutes.
For the Pilaf:
Wash the quinoa in a colander or a sieve with cold water and drain off all the liquid.
Place the washed quinoa, chicken broth, and 2 cups of water in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat. Reduce the heat to low and simmer uncovered until the quinoa is tender and has absorbed the liquid, 12 to 15 minutes.
Move the quinoa into a large bowl. In a medium skillet, heat 1 tablespoon olive oil. Cook the onion until translucent. Add the sugar and cook until the onion is slightly browned and caramelized. Turn off the heat.
In a separate bowl, whisk the balsamic vinegar, olive oil, salt and pepper together in a medium bowl. Pour over the quinoa. Add the cranberries, onions, basil and toss to coast.
To serve: Place the quinoa on a plate. Top with the chicken, extra cooking liquids from the chicken pan and sliced, toasted almonds.
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