Green Quinoa

Over the years I’ve collected quite a few cookbooks. Okay, more than quite a few. I keep the best of them in my kitchen, but I have another collection upstairs on a book shelf collecting dust. Every once in a while, I thumb through one of the all-star books in search of something new. I’m usually looking for something I’ve never noticed before. This was the case for the green couscous recipe in the much-lauded vegetarian cookbook Plenty. How did I flip past this one so many times? Instead of couscous, I used a mix of white, red and black sprouted quinoa. You could also substitute wild or brown rice, or even orzo. The herb paste makes this fairly simple dish burst with flavor. The pistachios add crunch and if you add a little feta, it could easily be a substantial main course.

  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 1 small yellow onion, thinly sliced
  • 7 tablespoons olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/3 cup flat-leaf parsley (see tips)
  • 1 cup cilantro
  • 2 tablespoons dill
  • 2 tablespoons mint
  • 1/2 cup shelled, salted pistachios
  • 1 small fresh green chile, seeded and finely chopped
  • 1 cup arugula leaves
  • Cook quinoa according to package directions using either water or vegetable stock. Set aside.
  • Heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil over medium heat in a small skillet. Cook the onions until deep brown and soft, about 10 minutes. Add the salt and the cumin, stir and set aside.
  • Combine the parsley, cilantro, dill, mint and olive oil in a food processor (this all fit nicely in my mini). Run until smooth. You may need to scrape down the sides of the bowl a few times. You will have a gorgeous and fragrant bright green herb paste.
  • Combine the herb paste with the quinoa, then add the onions, shelled pistachios, green chile and arugula. Mix gently. Serve slightly warm or at room temperature.
  • Quick Tips
  • 1. The recipe said to chop all the herbs. This seemed like an awful lot of work considering it was all going right into the food processor, so I skipped that step and eyeballed what I thought the right quantities would be if I had chopped the herbs. I guesstimated pretty well and I’m sure you will be able to do the same.
  • 2. If you can find them, buy the pistachios that have already been shelled. They are more expensive, of course, but well worth your time. One half cup of pistachios ends up being a lot when you have to shell them yourself. A good bit of the prep time listed below was spent shelling nuts.

Preparation time: 40 minute(s)

Cooking time: 12 minute(s)

Number of servings (yield): 4

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