Quinoa and Brown Rice Side Dish Recipe

Quinoa and Brown Rice Side Dish Recipe Recipe

Cooking quinoa is as easy as cooking rice: count one part uncooked quinoa to 2 parts water. However, brown rice takes a little longer to cook, so I parboiled the brown rice first and then added the quinoa for the remainder of the cooking time. Since quinoa is pretty bland by itself, I added a little kick using a paste made from tomato paste and Serrano peppers.

The addition of grilled summer vegetables and garbanzo beans completed the meal. I served the quinoa and brown rice medley as a side dish with escalope de dinde (turkey scallopini).

Ingredients

Yields: 8 servings

1 cup quinoa
1 cup brown basmati rice
3 tablespoons olive oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 tablespoon kosher salt (or regular salt)
1 yellow onion, diced
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 serrano pepper, roasted, skinned, seeded, finely chopped
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
2 grilled zucchini, cut into thin strips
1 grilled eggplant, coarsely chopped
2 red and green bell peppers, roasted, skinned, seeded and thinly sliced
6 ounces garbanzo beans, cooked and drained
2 tablespoons pine nuts, lightly dry-toasted
1 tablespoon curly parsley, finely chopped
8 ounces fresh mozzarella, cubed
juice of a lime


Directions

Parboiling brown basmati rice:

Wash and rinse the rice thoroughly in several water baths (about three times). Place in a large bowl, cover with water. Add ½ of the juice of a lime with its pulp. Soak for at least 1 hour or preferably 2 hours. Drain as much water as possible.

Fill in a large pot about 4 quarts of water. Bring to a boil. Add the rice. Bring the liquid back to a boil, then immediately lower the heat to a gentle boil. That way the rice is cooked evenly all the way through. Cook for about 5-6 minutes at a bubbly simmer. Add 1 teaspoon of Kosher salt half way through the cooking process (it will enhance the natural flavor of the rice and it will be more tender). Keep stirring the rice every now and then so it doesn't stick to the bottom of the pot. It may take longer than the cooking time in the instructions on the package. The grains of rice should still be a little firm, about 2/3 of the way cooked. Drain the liquid from the rice using a fine mesh colander. Do NOT rinse. Discard the liquid.

For the spicy paste:

In a mini-prep (you could also use a mortar and pestle), combine the tomato paste, vinegar, roasted Serrano pepper and 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Set aside.

For the quinoa:

Heat the rest of the olive oil in a large, heavy-bottom pan. Sauté the onions in the oil over low heat for about 8-10 minutes, stirring frequently to prevent the onion from burning, until the color is evenly golden brown and the onions are tender. Transfer half the amount of caramelized onions to a plate.

In the same pan, add garlic. Cook until fragrant. Add butter, the quinoa and parboiled rice. Stir well and add water (I usually start with about 1 cup). Bring to a boil, then lower the heat to a gentle simmer.

Check the liquid and periodically add ¼ to ½ cup of water when all the previous liquid is absorbed. Let simmer, uncovered, for about 20-25 minutes. Salt the water half-way through the cooking process, add the spicy paste and keep stirring every now and then so that the quinoa and rice don't stick to the bottom and sides of the pan and to prevent the grains from sticking to each other. You want to make sure the heat is on low. Cover and cook for another 10 minutes.

This might take longer than the cooking instructions on the package but this way, the quinoa and rice will be nice and tender. Gently fluff the dish using long chopsticks (or a fork) without breaking the grains of rice. The rice should be nice and soft. Turn off the heat. Add the chopped eggplant. Stir well

Assembly time:

While the pan is still hot, add the zucchini, roasted bell peppers, garbanzo beans and reserved onions.  Cover and let sit for about 5-10 minutes.

The dish should still be warm; drizzle with a little lime juice, add the mozzarella pieces and finish with the pine nuts. Garnish with curly parsley.

Serve warm or at room temperature.

Bon appétit!


Tips

You could use other grains such as buckwheat or barley, instead of quinoa.

Parboiling means briefly boiling the rice. Think "par-tial" boiling = parboiling.

Published By: Jacqueline Pham on August 30, 2010.


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