Skagit Food Co-op blog:

The Bounty of Bulk

Bounty of Bulk: Seeds for Summer

Quinoa was first cultivated in the harsh conditions of the Andes Mountains, where it remains a staple of Peruvian and Bolivian cuisine. Its actually a seed, although it is often referred to as a grain. Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse, packing high-quality plant protein, B vitamins, essential minerals and antioxidants, such as vitamin E.

While it’s available in packaged mixes, buying quinoa in bulk is often less expensive. The Co-op currently offers bulk Red Quinoa (#7631) for $6.99 per pound and Whole Grain Quinoa (#7625) on sale for $2.99 per pound (through 8/1/16), reg. $4.29 per pound. Bulk quinoa typically needs to be rinsed to remove any residue of saponin, the seed’s natural, bitter protective covering.

Enjoy this affordable, versatile seed for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and even dessert. Plus, quinoa is one of the most inclusive foods, appropriate for vegans, vegetarians, and those with gluten sensitivity. Add a handful or two of rinsed quinoa to broth-based soups in the last 20 minutes of cooking to add nutty texture and flavor. Quinoa also makes a hearty breakfast cereal when cooked in coconut milk and topped with fruit and nuts. 

quinobeetsalRead on for a couple of our favorite summer quinoa salad recipes: Beet, Orange & Pomegranate Quinoa Salad and Quinoa with Summer Squash & Peppers.

Beet, Orange & Pomegranate Quinoa Salad

Ingredients:

  • 3 medium large beets (about 1 1/4 pounds), trimmed and rinsed
  • 2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 2 cups red quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 medium oranges
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
  • 3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons finely chopped fresh parsley, divided
  • 1/2 cup chopped pitted dates
  • 1 whole pomegranate, seeded (see Tip)

Directions: Position rack in center of oven; preheat to 350°F. Rinse and pat the beets dry, then wrap individually in foil. Roast until tender, 1 to 1 1/4 hours, depending on size. (Alternatively, place beets in a microwave-safe dish, add 1/4 cup water, cover loosely and microwave on High until the beets are tender, about 10 minutes, depending on size.)

Meanwhile, bring broth, water, quinoa and salt to a boil in a large saucepan. Reduce heat, cover, and simmer until the liquid is absorbed, about 20 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a large serving bowl. Zest and juice 1 orange. Place the juice in a medium bowl. Working over another bowl, cut the remaining 2 oranges into segments and set aside. Measure the juice from the first orange—if it isn’t quite 1/3 cup, squeeze the juice from the membranes until you get 1/3 cup. Add the zest, vinegar (or lemon juice), salt, and pepper to the juice; gradually whisk in oil in a thin stream until well combined. Stir in 1/4 cup parsley.

When cool enough to handle, peel, and dice the roasted beets. Add to the quinoa along with dates and gently combine. Pour the dressing over the salad and gently toss to coat. Serve garnished with the reserved orange segments, pomegranate seeds, and the remaining 2 tablespoons parsley. This salad pairs beautifully with turkey or roast pork.

Tip: To seed a pomegranate, fill a large bowl with water. Lightly score the fruit into quarters from crown to stem end, cutting just through the skin. Hold the fruit under water, break it apart, and use your hands to gently separate the plump seeds from the skin and white pith. Discard the white pith. Pour the seeds into a colander. Rinse and pat dry.


Quinoa with Summer Squash & Peppers

Quinoa has such a nutty, mild flavor making it a natural fit for pairing with tender vegetables and a touch of honey.

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups diced Zucchini or summer squash
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 large yellow (or red) bell pepper, chopped
  • 4 large green onions (scallions), minced
  • 2 tablespoons local honey
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
  • Freshly ground black pepper to taste
  • Handful of fresh basil, rinsed and minced

Directions: Cut the squash into 3/4-inch cubes, so they cook evenly. In a one-quart pan, combine the squash, quinoa, water, and salt and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover and reduce the heat to low, and cook for 15 minutes. The water should be absorbed, and the squash should be tender when pierced with a knife. Keep covered and allow the mixture to cool.

Chop the pepper and green onions. In a cup or small bowl, whisk the honey, lemon, and olive oil. Once the quinoa mixture is cooled, add the bell pepper, scallions, dressing, and freshly ground black pepper. Toss to mix. Serve at room temperature or chill and serve. Keeps up to a week in the refrigerator.

By: Claire

ClaireClaire Harlock Garber loves to eat and drink and write about it. She has worked in the food industry for nearly a decade and was on staff at the Skagit Valley Co-op from 2010-2018, writing the regular columns Skagit Brew Corner, The Cheese Whisperer, The Bounty of Bulk, and What's Dippin' in the Well for the Co-op's blog, as well as articles for the Natural Enquirer newsletter.