As promised, I’m here to share another awesome recipe with everyone. I’m going to give my Mom credit on this one because while I had the idea to turn Spanish Rice into Spanish Quinoa, she’s the one who came up with the rest (well, I suppose I helped with the ratio of quinoa to chicken stock…that was just a lucky guess the first time we made it!). Anyway, it’s quickly become one of our favorite side dishes (or main courses with the right toppings) and I absolutely love how I can’t mess up the quinoa. Whenever I’ve attempted Spanish Rice, it comes out mushy…no matter how hard I try to not screw it up. With quinoa, I feel like it’s a bit more forgiving. More than anything, it tastes amazing right away but it also reheats like a champ…the best of both worlds!
Try it out tonight for you Cinco de Mayo celebrations and I guarantee people will be raving over it.
2-4 people (with potential leftovers depending on who’s eating!)
- olive oil (2 tablespoons – give or take)
- 1 onion (diced)
- 1 jalapeno (minced)
- 2-4 carrots (diced – you can put in as much or as little as you want…I think I used 6 carrots from my fruit and veggie box delivery in my last batch)
- 3-4 garlic cloves (minced)
- 1.5 cups quinoa
- 2 cups chicken broth (low sodium!)
- 1 can diced tomatoes (14.5 oz – drained)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 2 teaspoons fresh ground pepper
- cilantro (not essential but nice to sprinkle on top if you have some lying around)
1. Prep everything :: dice your onion, mince your garlic and jalapenos, dice your carrots, open and drain your can of tomatoes, etc…being organized in the kitchen is my #1 tip to smooth sailing and less stress!
2. Using a large pan (one like this – make sure you have a lid that fits it!), heat up the olive oil over medium to high heat and saute onion until translucent (approximately 4-6 minutes).
3. Add diced jalapeno and carrots. Saute with onion for 3-4 minutes.
4. Add garlic to the mix and let it mingle for about 1 minute.
5. Add quinoa to the veggies and cook all together (“frying it”) for 4-6 minutes.
6. Stir in your cumin and fresh ground pepper.
7. Once the spices are mixed well, add in your drained tomatoes and chicken broth.
8. Stir well, bring to a boil, and then reduce to a simmer. Cook covered for approximately 30 minutes or until quinoa is cooked thoroughly (it’s been almost exactly 30 minutes every time for me).
We’ve enjoyed our Spanish Quinoa with tacos, fajitas, as a side, as a stand alone, etc…you can be as creative as you’d like. When I have leftovers, I prepare it just as you see in these pictures – with grated sharp cheddar cheese, fresh minced jalapenos, and some delicious avocado. I’m also pleased to say this is another dish my kids love, especially my 18 month old. She almost ate my entire lunch yesterday (she didn’t even complain about the jalapenos!). With most kids, I’d recommend going a little tame on the heat when getting them to try it out for the first time, but definitely have them give it a try because there’s a good chance they’ll love it just as much as you do!
The other nice thing about this dish is that you can add to it what you have in the house. The other day when I made a batch, I had a couple bell peppers lying around and I diced them and added them in when I threw in the carrots…such a yummy and easy addition! Get creative and let me know if you discover any must-try additions/alternatives/etc…I’m always looking for yummy new recipes.
Happy eating, friends and happy Cinco de Mayo – be sure to drink some margaritas for me!