Thursday, April 22, 2010

Lemon Cumin Quinoa with Avocado, Raisins, and Apricots

Well, if you haven't seen a quinoa recipe lately, you must be living under a rock. In recent months/years, quinoa's popularity has grown because of its superfood status. It's a personal favorite of mine because it is kind of a protein/carb combo, and I'm always looking for meat-free protein options.

For the first two years of my cooking blog, I selected a country, researched it, and blogged many popular and traditional dishes and ingredients (see the links on the right side of my blog for countries completed). When I chose Bolivia one week, I read about the history of quinoa. Here's what I wrote in my blog 2 years ago, "For this week's country challenge, I decided to go back to South America. What struck me most were the number of recipes using Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), a grain native from the Andes. The Incas spread the use of Quinoa all over South America. Quinoa is naturally bitter, and must be rinsed many times. It declined in popularity in the nineteenth centry due to widespread belief that it was killing pigs owned by peasants. They stopped growing it, and it almost disappeared. Recently, I have seen quinoa appear in many cooking magazines and shows because of it's health benefits. The dishes I have chosen for Bolivia all use quinoa in one form or another, showing it's versatility."

So when I saw this recipe on Erin's Food Files, I immediately starred it and put it on the menu. I knew my husband would love it because of the avocado and raisins, and I love dried apricots and cumin. The recipe was intriguing, many big flavors and seeminly random ingredients, but they paired so well and this dish was delicious.

Lemon Cumin Quinoa with Avocado, Raisins and Apricots
via Erin's Food Files  adapted from Fine Cooking

3 tbsp. raisins

3 tbsp. dried apricots, thinly sliced
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
Kosher salt
1 large lemon
1 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1/4 tsp. ground coriander
1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/4 tsp. sweet paprika
1 medium firm-ripe avocado pitted, peeled, and cut into 1/2-inch chunks
2 medium scallions, white and light green parts only, thinly sliced
3 tbsp. toasted sliced almonds
Freshly ground black pepper

In a medium bowl, soak the raisins and apricots in hot water for 5 minutes. Drain and set aside.
In a 2-quart saucepan, bring 2 cups water, the quinoa, and 1/2 tsp. salt to a boil over high heat.
Cover, reduce the heat to medium low, and simmer until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is translucent and tender, 10 to 15 minutes.
Fluff the quinoa with a fork and turn it out onto a baking sheet to cool to room temperature.
Finnely grate the zest from the lemon and then squeeze 1 tbsp. juice. in a small bowl, whisk the lemon zest and juice with the olive oil, coriander, cumin, paprika, and 1/4 tsp. salt.
In a large bowl, toss the vinaigrette with the quinoa, raisins, apricots, avocado, scallions, and almonds.
Season to taste with salt and pepper and serve.


Sophie @ yumventures said...

As someone who cooks all the time AND is gluten free, I still have never made quinoa!! I always seem to have rice in my pantry and want to "use it up". I need to try making this as soon as I run out!

Dawn said...

Very nice recipe Ashlee! I bought some red quinoa recently so maybe I'll try this over the weekend!

Debbi Smith said...

This sounds delicious! Especially with the apricots, I'll for sure be trying this. Boy, my list of soon-to-be-tried recipes is getting longer by the minute!

ErinsFoodFiles said...

Gorgeous photo! I hope you loved it as much as we did. :)

KMAYS said...

How did I miss this on Erin's blog? It has so many of my favorite things!

Joanne said...

Did NOT know about that quinoa originated from the Andes. Thanks for the fun fact!

This dish looks delicious....avocado, raisins and apricots sound lovely together!

Mark said...

I love quinoa and avocado - this is going on the menu this weekend!!!

Charlotte said...

This looks like an amazing recipe and I'm dying to cook with some quinoa (I've had it on several occasions but have yet to make it myself). Can you tell me how many this recipe serves? I'm thinking of serving it along with a brunch I'm preparing this weekend.


Ashlee said...

charlotte - About 4-6 as a side dish at brunch.

Charlotte said...

Awesome, thank you! I can't wait to try this :)

Mark said...

Thought you'd get a kick out of this. I made this dish last night for my wife's "healthy eating" expo at work and it won first prize. I called it "Ash Quinoa and Avocado" - nobody could figure out why :-)