Quinoa has the highest nutritional profile and cooks the fastest of all the grains (while it’s technically a seed, we consume it like a grain). Quinoa is the only plant-based food that has all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. In addition to being gluten-free, quinoa is high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E. Spinach and parsley enhance the nutritional benefits of this dish.
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
2 cups raw spinach, washed
½ cup pine nuts
¼ cup olive oil, plus a dab for the pine nuts
½ cup golden raisins
2 teaspoons freshly grated lemon zest
½ cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
¼ cup fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
Freshly ground black pepper to taste
Preheat the oven to 325ºF. In a saucepan, cook the quinoa with the water according to the directions. While the quinoa is cooking, slice the spinach into thin strips. Brush the pine nuts with a dab of olive oil, place them on a baking sheet, and bake them in the oven until lightly toasted, about 10 minutes. Transfer the warm, cooked quinoa to a serving bowl and add the toasted pine nuts, raisins, lemon zest, and parsley. Place the sliced raw spinach on top of the quinoa. In a separate bowl, whisk together the lemon juice and cumin. Slowly add in the remaining ¼ cup olive oil to form a paste. Pour the dressing over the quinoa mixture, making certain to moisten all of the ingredients. Add freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serve this nourishing and delicious dish warm or at room temperature.
Recipe by Elise Museles of Kale and Chocolate. First appeared in Gutbliss (Penguin 2013).