Recipe: Cranberry Cashew Quinoa

This dish is really easy to make vegan or kosher, just substitute either tofu or turkey bacon in for the pancetta and omit the cheese.

1 cup quinoa

3 cups water

1 onion, diced

¼ cup chopped pancetta

olive oil, enough to lightly coat the bottom of the pan

salt and pepper, to taste

¼ cup dried cranberries

¼ cup cranberry sauce

1/3 cup cashews

Arugula

Grated Parmesan cheese, optional

1. Boil water (sometimes I use chicken broth to add more flavor).  When the water begins to boil, add the quinoa.  Cover and turn the heat off.  Leave standing for 15 minutes.  Meanwhile:

2. Heat a little olive oil in a large skillet, over medium heat.  Add the onion and pancetta.  Cook 5 minutes, until the onions are soft and translucent.

Left: step 2 Right: step 3

3. Add the cranberries and the cranberry sauce.   Season with salt and pepper.  Sometimes, I add a little dash of clove or cinnamon.  Turn the heat down to medium low.

4. Over low heat, in a small skillet, gently toast the cashews.  They will smell toasty when they are ready.  Check often, cashews burn easily.

5. Fluff the quinoa.  Add the onion / cranberry sauce.   Mix together.  Add ½ the cashews.

6. Place a little arugula on the dish (I don’t dress the arugula, but if you want to, I would suggest a little balsamic or honey mustard).   Add the quinoa.  Top with a little Parmesan cheese and few of the remaining cashews.

This isn’t how the dish is supposed to look, but this is the finished product the night I photographed this dish.

Why didn’t this come out properly?

I got overly enthused about the capacity of my rice cooker and blindly just tossed the quinoa in, hit white rice, as directed by the instruction book, and ended up with extremely mushy quinoa.  It was almost oatmeal-like.  It tasted ok, but I think the dish would look more appealing if the grains were more distinct.  It would also make it easier to toss the arugula and quinoa together.

Next time, I will just cook my quinoa on the stove so I can maintain the integrity of the grains.

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