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Quinoa Paella

What you need: 

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 onion, chopped
1/2 red and green bell pepper, chopped
1/2 fennel bulb, chopped
as many cloves of garlic as you have in the kitchen, minced or chopped
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon turmeric
1/2 teaspoon cayenne powder
1 3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
a pinch of saffron
1/2 cup sherry
2 1/4 cups vegetable stock
a generous handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup frozen peas

What you do: 

Heat the oil (3 Tablespoons, or however much you like to use) in a paellera or any kind of large, wide skillet (preferably nonstick). Saute the onions on medium heat until soft, then add the peppers and fennel, again sauteing until the vegetables begin to soften.
While this is cooking, combine the spices in a measuring cup. Stir the garlic into the pan, then add the bay leaves and mixed spices after a minute or two. Add the quinoa and cook for two minutes, stirring. Next add the saffron and sherry, and allow to simmer for a moment. Add the vegetable stock and salt, and reduce the heat to low.
Cover the pan and allow the ingredients to simmer for 20-25 minutes, without stirring. You may want to check on it periodically to make sure the quinoa doesn't dry out.
At this point you can prepare the tofu. Marinading the tofu would probably be good, but it's not necessary and I never bother. Heat the oil (2 Tablespoons, or however much you prefer to use) in a small pan on high heat. Add the tofu pieces and fry on both wider sides until they are golden. Add the cooked tofu on top of the cooking paella, and re-cover.
After 20-25 minutes, when quinoa seems tender enough, remove the pan from the heat, and sprinkle the tomatoes and peas , and cover again. Let it sit for 10 minutes, then serve with lemon slices.
*** You can alter the ingredients in this pretty easily without ruining the dish. I generally end up adding a lot more water/stock halfway through the cooking process, as I think it is actually better when the quinoa doesn't soak up all the moisture. The fennel isn't necessary, but it adds a great flavor and unique quality, and is probably my favorite part of this recipe. However, don't forget to add the lemon! Without it you'll just have an interesting pilaf, not scrumptious paella.
Source of recipe: After my roommate and I became addicted to paella and started making it pretty much every day, I decided to adapt the traditional recipe I had been using by making it with quinoa and tofu instead of rice and broad beans, so now it's a bit healthier and nutritionally well-rounded.

Preparation Time: 
10 minutes, Cooking time: 25 minutes
Cooking Time: 
25 minutes
Servings: 
2-3
Recipe Category: 

SO HOW'D IT GO?

This is an easy recipe to make and to change according to your needs. I only had onion and peas, and so it was light on the veggies, but still good. I also used white wine vinegar instead of sherry because I hate sherry. I also make 1/2 batch and cut the vinegar in half, but it was still too acidic for me. I would probably cut the vinegar to 25% so I could add a bit of lemon and not have it overpower the dish.

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