Quinoa is pronounced 'keen-wah' (/ˈkinˌwɑ/ or /ˈkiˌno.ʊə/, Spanish quinua, from Quechua kinwa). Here in Israel it is called קינואה - pronounced 'keen-o-wah' (/ki.'no.a/). So, if you are trying to find or order quinoa in Israel, try calling it 'keen-o-wah' and you will be better understood.
Quinoa is a grainlike crop grown for its seeds. It is called a pseudocereal because unlike wheat and rye quinoa is not a grass. Quinoa originated from the Andean region of South America. The Inca called the crop "the mother of all grains".
Quinoa is very nutritious and contains a high amount of protein compared with other grains (12 - 18%). It is considered a complete protein due to its balanced distribution of essential amino acids. Quinoa is a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and is easily digested. It is also more convenient to cook than brown rice or other whole grains due to its quick cooking (10 minutes).
Serving size: 4 - 6
Prep time: ~30 min
1 large avocado, ripe
juice of 1 lime (or lemon if more available)
1/4 cup lightly packed cilantro
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup plain yogurt
3/4 cup water
1/2 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
3 large eggs
1 large zucchini, cut into 3/4-inch thick coins
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
couple pinches of fine grain sea salt
1 cup quinoa
2 cups cold water
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted (var. pumpkin seeds)
1/4 cup goat, feta or bulgarian cheese crumbled
a bit of chopped cilantro for garnish
- Place quinoa with 2 cups water into medium saucepan. Bring to boil. Do not mix quinoa while cooking! Cover and bring flame to low (if using gas stove it is best to use a flame deflector - I find quinoa can burn on the bottom). Simmer until quinoa is fluffy and soft (~10 min).
- Prepare the cilantro-avocado dressing by blending avocado, lime juice, cilantro, garlic, yogurt, water, and salt in a blender, hand blender or food processor. Set aside.
- Hard boil the three eggs as follows: place the eggs in a pot and cover with cold water by a 1/2-inch or so. Bring to a gentle boil. Turn off the heat, cover, and let sit for exactly seven minutes. Have a big bowl of ice water ready and when the eggs are done cooking place them in the ice bath for three minutes or so - long enough to stop the cooking. Set aside.
- While eggs are cooling start preparing the zucchini by tossing it with olive oil and salt in a medium-sized bowl. Prepare your grill (medium-high heat). Grill until zucchini are tender and cooked through, roughly 5 minutes on each side. Remove from the grill and cut each zucchini coin into quarters. It is possible to also roast zucchini slices in the oven at 400 degrees.
- Peel each egg, cut into quarters lengthwise. Assemble the salad by tossing the quinoa with about 2/3 cups of the avocado vinaigrette. Top with the grilled zucchini, pine nuts, eggs, goat cheese, and a bit of chopped cilantro for garnish.