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Spanish "Rice" Quinoa

From Chef Oonagh Williams of Royal Temptations Catering

Gluten-Free Spanish Rice Quinoa

Ingredients:

  • 2 Tbsp. (30ml) olive oil
  • 1 x 12 oz. (375g) packet of gluten-free chicken sausage, cut in half lengthwise then cut into ½ inch (1 cm) pieces (I like to use Al Fresco Ready-Cooked, Chipotle and Mango Chicken Sausage)
  • 1 medium onion, peeled and finely chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, peeled and finely crushed
  • 1 medium zucchini, quartered lengthwise and cut into ½ inch (1 cm) pieces
  • 1 medium yellow squash, quartered lengthwise and cut into ½ inch pieces
  • ½ red bell pepper, deseeded and cut into 1-2 inch squares (You can use green or yellow peppers;  red gives a sweeter flavor.)
  • 4 large mushrooms, cleaned, halved and sliced

Directions:

1. Heat oil in skillet big enough to take sausage, vegetables and cooked quinoa.

2. Add onions and cook over medium heat until they start softening.

3. Add sausage to pan and cook until they looked a bit browned.  Be careful not to overcook and burn the onions.

4. Add zucchini, squash, garlic, and red pepper, cook until as soft or crisp as you like.

5. Add mushrooms and cook for additional 1-2 minutes.

6. Stir in cooked quinoa, turn off heat, and leave to sit, covered, for a few minutes while flavors blend.

Tips & Alternatives:

I’ve tried this with chopped cashews and feta cheese on top.  I’ve also used gluten-free smoke seasonings and smoked paprika flavors. Salt, garlic, and basil can also be added. 

Use any selection of vegetables, try different cooked sausages, but remember to check the package to ensure it’s gluten-free.

Quinoa Cooking Tips

I find that if you have quinoa that has sat in the cupboard a bit longer, then it has probably dried out and needs more water and cooking - same as with dried beans. Also, if your pan does not have a tight fitting lid, you might need more liquid to cook quinoa as liquid can evaporate through a loose lid.

It is wiser not to buy your quinoa from the bulk containers at the market.  Even though they might take every effort to prevent cross-contamination, just the action of bulk-filling individual containers releases dust into the air which could contain contaminants and then settle onto gluten-free ingredients.

I always rinse my raw quinoa in a fine sieve, since quinoa is so tiny it will fall through a regular sieve. If you don’t have a fine sieve, you can try rinsing them through a coffee filter. Put quinoa in the sieve and run cold water through it for a few minutes. I frequently rub the grains at the same time.

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