Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Day 352- Quinoa with Caramelized Onions

First off, sorry for any spelling mistakes, I''m using someone else's computer. They only have IE which (horrors) doesn't seem to have an auto spell check feature...


Quinoa. It's some spiffy stuff with a weird name. You can sometimes find it in normal grocery stores, Mom found a *huge* bag of it (pre-rinsed) at Costco, and it's almost always at the healthy food store. It seems to come in red and "normal", with normal being much more affordable. Like 40 or 50 cents a pound from the bulk bins affordable. It's big in protein, easy to store, and a nice texture and flavor change from rice.

Basically, it's some kinda wonder food. Also, it's pretty easy to cook. Just like rice. Oh, but if you can't find pre-rinsed, make sure you rinse it *a lot*- it has... stuff... on the outside that tastes like soap and needs to be cleaned off before cooking. Unless you *like* eating soap, in which case, leave it on.

So the recipe...

Quinoa with Caramelized Onions
  • 3/4C quinoa (dry, prepair according to package- it's about 4C cooked)
  • 1 to 2 Cups onion, sliced
  • 1T olive oil
  • 1/4C white wine
  • salt
  • spices (optional)
Cook the quinoa according to directions (I think it's something like 2:1 water: grain but check to make sure). While the quinoa is cooking, put oil in a large frying pan (or a wok) and heat to meduim-ish. Add onions and some salt. Cook over medium or medium-low heat until the onions are just barely browned, translucent, and smell and taste sweet. Add white wine to deglaze the pan. Let the alcohol cook off for a minute or two, then mix in quinoa, spices, and additional salt to taste. Makes 4 *large* servings.

Depending on the price of onions and quinoa, this *should* work out to about 25 cents per serving. Mom serves it with baked chicken leg/ thigh she gets for 49 cents a pound, I think it'd be pretty good with beans and veggies or veggie fake-meat. Actually, with a bit more onion I'd probably just eat it as-is...


  1. I like quinoa. Trader Joe's has a nice bag of mixed stuff with quinoa in it that is really good and makes a ton. You are almost finished your year, are you gonna give us the spend totals? What's next?

  2. I love quinoa, but it is super expensive here. I hadn't thought to look for it in bulk, though - figured it was still too trendy for that. Now I'm inspired.

    Not to nitpick, but technically caramelized onions are dark brown, not light, and take a good 30 minutes over low heat. The goal is to liberate and caramelize as much of the sugars in the onion as possible without burning. What you've got are browned onions that are just starting to caramelize. If you can spare the time, I totally recommend going all the way, the flavor is amazing.

  3. Cyndee- I totally lost track somewhere in there. I have (some? most?) recepts from the year, but I don't think they'll add up to the real total. I'll dig them out, though, and start adding it up.

    What's next? I'm about 90% on that, I'll let you know all about it... tomorrow. I think it's about a post and a half, all by itself.

    Kim- Yep, you're right, dark brown. I cook on too high a temp, though and when I let them go far enough to be right they tend to go that little bit over the edge into icky and burnt. The bulk *normal* quinoa at earthfare has been out for a couple months, to the point that if I were sticking around I'd try to bribe the grocery clerk into letting me know when it came in. You may have more luck with your place.

  4. Red quinoa has identical nutritional value, but it is MUCH lower in iron. I always get the regular quinoa for that reason.

  5. It's lower in iron *and* it costs more? That's just silly. You'd think that the (much) higher price would mean more nutrients. Guess it's just a rare or fancy variety.

    Kinda like forbidden rice (which looks really cool in pilaf, I admit).