Wayne’s Weekend: Cooking With Qunioa

Give a twist to traditional tabbouleh and Asian lettuce cups

Quinoa is part of a family of “ancient grains” that, as the names implies, have been around for centuries.  Many of these ancient seeds and grains are high in protein and gluten free.  With an increased focus on vegetarian meals and other diet restrictive recipes, a number of these grains have become much more accessible in grocery stores in their bulk sections.  Quinoa is probably the most popular and is available in a variety of different types, including red, white, royal pearl and tri-colored.  Today, I’m sharing a traditional tabbouleh made with quinoa instead of bulgar wheat and lettuce wraps with a filling made with chicken, quinoa and peanuts and a side of a creamy peanut sauce for added flavor.

Quinoa Tabbouleh

Ingredients

Quinoa Preparation

1 cu Quinoa
1 1/2 cu Water
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Olive Oil

Remaining Preparation

2 cloves Garlic, peeled, smashed and finely minced
8 oz Grape Tomatoes, sliced in half
2 cu Chopped Cucumbers, persian or english, finely chopped
3-4 Radishes, trimmed and diced, about 1/2 cup
1 cu Red Onions, finely diced
1 Green Onion, thinly sliced
3/4 cu Fresh Mint, roughly chopped
1/2 cu Fresh Parsley, roughly chopped
1 tbl Fresh Dill, finely minced
2 tbl Lemon Juice
Zest of 1 Lemon
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/3 cu Olive Oil
Lemon wedges, optional, for garnish

Method

Bring water, salt and olive oil to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Gradually stir in quinoa.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and keep covered for an additional 5 minutes.  Transfer quinoa to a bowl and allow to cool fully.

In a separate bowl, whisk together lemon zest, lemon juice, salt and pepper.  While still whisking, gradually pour olive oil into the mixture.  Continue to whisk until mixture is smooth and creamy.   Set aside.

Once quinoa has fully cooled, add tomatoes, cucumbers radishes, red onions, green onion, mint, parsley and dill. Stir to combine.  Pour dressing over mixture and gently toss to coat. 

This dish is best when the flavors have had time to blend together.  If time permits, place plastic wrap over the bowl and refrigerate for at least 2 hours to overnight.  Serve as an appetizer, salad substitute or side dish.

Quinoa Lettuce Cups

Ingredients

Quinoa Preparation

1 cu Quinoa
1 1/2 cu Water
1/2 tsp Salt
1 tsp Olive Oil

Remaining Preparation

1 head Iceberg Lettuce
1 lg carrot, finely diced
1 lg Celery Stalk, finely diced
1/2 cu Diced Onion
1/2 cu Chopped Peanuts, measured then chopped more finely
9 oz pkg Pre Cooked Chicken (or 12 oz pkg of vegan no chicken strips), chopped
2 tbl Lime Juice
2 tbl Sesame Oil
1 tbl Peanut Sauce (recipe below)
1 tsp Salt
1/2 tsp Pepper
1/4 cu Olive Oil

Peanut Sauce

Ingredients

3/4 cu Creamy Peanut Butter
1 cu Water
3 tbl Hoisin Sauce
1/2 tsp Sriracha Sauce
1 tbl Sesame Oil
1 tbl Soy Sauce
2 tbl Lime Juice
1 tbl Finely Chopped Peanuts, optional, for garnish

Method

Bring water, salt and olive oil to a boil in a medium saucepan over high heat.  Gradually stir in quinoa.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cover for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and keep covered for an additional 5 minutes.  Transfer quinoa to a bowl and allow to cool fully.

Separately, prepare peanut sauce by combining all ingredients, except the chopped peanuts, in a bowl and mixing together until smooth.  Set aside. 

Cut the core from the lettuce and then gently peel away individual leaves.  If you hold the head of lettuce under a slow steam of water aimed at outer leaves, the weight of the water filling the leaf will help it pull away on its own.  Drain the leaves on a rack until dry.

Once quinoa has cooled add carrots, celery, onion, peanuts and chicken to the bowl and stir to combine.  In a separate medium sized bowl, whisk together lime juice, sesame oil, salt, pepper and peanut sauce.  While still whisking, gradually pour olive oil into the mixture.  Continue to whisk until mixture is smooth and creamy.  Pour dressing into the quinoa mixture and stir to combine. 

Serve the quinoa mixture with the lettuce leaves and the peanut sauce (with chopped nuts on top).  Have your guests place a bit of filling in a lettuce leaf, top with a bit of peanut sauce and then roll the leaf around the filling and enjoy.

If you have any comments or questions, please send me an email at wayne@waynesweekend.com or follow me on Facebook or Twitter.
 

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