Quinoa with (Almost) Caramelized Onions and Shiitake Mushrooms Two Ways

By • March 22, 2011 15 Comments

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Author Notes: It's still a little early here for fresh asparagus, so I use cabbage for now. Soon, I'll switch it out to asparagus for the spring. Either one tastes great. There are also two options for seasoning. You can use a pinch of cayenne (or 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo pepper) and a pinch of salt in lieu of the soy sauce and sesame oil if you don't want that flavoring. Just use some extra stock in step 4. Add a fried egg on top for a great meal.healthierkitchen

Serves 4

  • 1 cup mixed red quinoa and cream colored quinoa (or even some black quinoa mixed with red), rinsed
  • 2 1/2 cups low sodium vegetable stock (you can use chicken if you don't want it vegetarian)
  • 1 large onion, peeled and halved and then thinly sliced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 ounces shiitake mushrooms, stems removed and caps sliced thinly
  • 1 small Napa cabbage or 1/2 of a larger one, sliced (about 2 -3 cups). You can also use a bunch of asparagus, cut into two inch pieces on a bias and lightly steamed.
  • 1 - 2 tablespoons soy sauce
  • 1 teaspoon sesame oil
  1. Heat a saute pan on medium heat. When pan is warm, add 2 -3 tablespoons of olive oil to pan. Add the sliced onions and let them cook, stirring occasionally, about 10 - 15 minutes. You want them to get a little brown, but not actually caramelized (see picture above).
  2. Meanwhile, put quinoa and stock or water in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Lower to a simmer and cover. I like to cook it on the shorter side to maintain a little more of a chewy mouth feel. After about 10 minutes, check the pot and see if the grain has become translucent. Taste it gingerly, as the stock or water is hot, and if it's still crunchy, leave it to simmer a couple of minutes more. When it is done, the individual grains should be translucent and you should be able to see a "ring" around the edge. That is the germ of the grain. You just don't want to let it get mushy. I find that it takes less time than the packages instruct.
  3. When the quinoa is done, drain over a fine mesh strainer or colander if there is still liquid in the pan. You can reserve some of the stock if you are not using soy sauce.
  4. Lower the heat in the saute pan to medium-low and add the garlic and mushrooms. Once they have softened, about 3 minutes, add the cabbage or asparagus. Add the soy sauce one tablespoon at a time (or water or stock) to moisten the pan. Add the other if needed. Let cook, stirring occasionally for about 3 more minutes.
  5. If you are using the soy sauce and sesame oil, take the pan off the heat and add the sesame oil and mix and serve. If you are omitting the soy sauce and sesame oil in favor of the pepper, add the cayenne or Aleppo pepper here and taste for salt.

More Great Recipes: Asparagus|Vegetables|Entrees|Quinoa|Cabbage

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