Quinoa Pilaf with Garbanzo Beans (Nohutlu Kinoa Pilavı)
OK, I admit I did not know what quinoa was until just a few years ago. But then, who did? I was trying to stay away from white rice and was very proud to use bulgur (cracked wheat) as an alternative for pilafs. After all, bulgur is whole wheat and has low glycemic index, it was all good. Since I add vegetables and garbanzo beans to it, I was very happy to cook nutritious bulgur pilafs. That is until we all learned about gluten and what it could do to our bodies, our brains. Naturally, I got myself a bag of “organic quinoa” and cooked it exactly per the directions on the bag. It was soggy and pretty much tasteless. My husband’s comment was “this is bird food, why did you cook it?“. I had to experiment with the way I cooked it. First lesson to learn was “not to follow the instructions” on the bag. You actually need less water than they tell you to cook with. I wanted enhance the taste, so I added lots of onions, bell peppers and garbanzo beans, black pepper and turmeric and voila! The result was a delicious alternative to rice and bulgur pilafs. Now all of my family (including the hubby) are not only used to it, but they actually like it a lot. This is a very simple recipe, but it will make quinoa an everyday dish on your table. Enjoy!
2 cups quinoa
1 medium onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
1 bell pepper, chopped (about 1 cup)
3 cups boiling water
1 15 oz can garbanzo beans
1/2 teaspoon cayenne or crushed red pepper (optional)
1/2 teaspoon turmeric (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste
Wash and drain quinoa. Saute onions in olive oil in a pan over medium high heat for about 2 minutes. Add chopped bell peppers, continue to saute until vegetables are wilted, about 2-3 minutes. Add boiling water and the rest of the ingredients, cover the pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and let it simmer until the water is absorbed. Remove and serve hot.
Note: This dish freezes very well. You can make a big batch and freeze some in small containers to be used later. It does not lose it taste or texture by freezing.