Greek Quinoa

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When I first considered what food to choose for “Q”, the only thing that came to mind at first was “Quail”…. hmm….

Never in my life have I woken up and thought, “Hm, I think I’ll make quail for dinner today.”

Think about your last trip to the supermarket. Did you see quail in the butcher case? Did you even think to look? I didn’t.

That is why, Q is NOT for Quail.

Q is forย QUINOA!!!

When Quinoa came to mind for “Q” I got SUPER excited. I’ve heard and read a lot about quinoa this past year and yet I haven’t ventured to try it out.

The consensus: ย WE LOVE IT!!!

I think it’s delicious! Just as good as rice…. no, BETTER! I just love the texture and I love how nutritious it is for us all. It really takes on any flavors you want so you can be creative and the quinoa won’t interfere.

Very unlike weeds. They interfere with everything…. they’re a pain. I’m tired of doing battle with them. They always seem to be winning. But maybe I’m just projecting.

I decided that I would write my own recipes for most of “Q is for Quinoa” and take us all on a kind of global tour of food while I did so.

First up…

GREEK-style Quinoa!

QUINOA!!!

Sorry, I didn’t mean to shout.

This strange word is pronounced ‘keen-wah’. Quinoa isย a seed and it contains more protein than any other grain out there… sorry rice, sorry bread, sorry pasta… the grain with the funny name wins.

If you have ever had Couscous, that’s probably the closest thing I would compare Quinoa to once it’s cooked. Before it’s cooked, it really is just a bunch of tiny seeds. There is some dispute on how much water to cook quinoa in, but after making it SEVERAL times, I think I liked 1 1/2 parts liquid to 1 part quinoa. Some people say 2 to 1 is better or 1 3/4 to 1…. but you can decide for yourself after you experiment with making it a few times. You rinse it, boil it with liquid, simmer for 15 minutes-ish, leave covered off the heat for 10 minutes-ish, fluff it with a fork, and you’re done! It’s very hands-off cooking really AND it takes less time than regular rice.

To make GREEK quinoa, I started with the quinoa!!

Sorry, there I go shouting again.

As I mentioned, it’s very important that you RINSE the quinoa first. Just measure out what you need and pour it in a fine mesh sieve. Rinse it under cool water for 30 seconds to a minute, tossing the quinoa around a bit with one hand as you rinse to be sure you get all the seeds. You could also let the sieve sit in a bowl of water for 5 minutes or so and then just do a quick rinse after that. Shake off as much water as you can, and add the quinoa to a medium to large saucepan (depending on how much you’re making).

I used 1 cup quinoa and 1 1/2 cups chicken broth. You could use water but the broth just imparts really nice flavor to the quinoa, making it even more delicious to enjoy. If you are making this vegetarian-style, just use vegetable broth instead of chicken. You pour the broth right into the saucepan with the quinoa, bring the whole thing to a boil, TURN DOWN the heat to low, COVER the pot, and let it simmer for 15 minutes. When the timer goes off, remove the pot from the heat but leave it covered. Let it sit 10 minutes more and then fluff the quinoa with a fork. It should be PERFECT! I made it several times this way and never had it turn out badly.

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While the quinoa was cooking, I got started on the rest of the meal. You can make it somewhat ahead of time… 4-6 hours ahead I’d say.

Next I tackled the chicken because you want to get it marinating!

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To a gallon-size ziptop bag I added olive oil…

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Two HEAPING tablespoons of honey…

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The juice of a lemon…

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1/2 of a large red onion, finely chopped…

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A few sprigs of fresh rosemary…

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1 garlic clove, sliced…

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And then I seasoned it with salt and pepper…

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Seal the bag, squish it around to really combine everything, and then add the final ingredient: CHICKEN! I cut mine into about 1-inch cubes…

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Zip it up, squish it around again, and toss it in the fridge for 4-6 hours. I like to take it out and squish it around a couple of times to be sure all the chicken is getting marinated well, but it should be fine if you can’t do this or if you forget to.

Don’t stress about it!!!!

This time, I did mean to shout.

There are too many other things in life we let ourselves stress about. Marinating chicken should NOT be one of them.

Next I prepped the veggies, cheese, etc that I needed to make my Greek Quinoa…

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Thinly sliced red onion…

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One HOTHOUSE cucumber… halved, seeds removed… thinly sliced into half moons…

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Red bell pepper… seeded and cut into bite-size squares…

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Grape tomatoes… halved…

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Feta cheese… a block of it… cut into 1/2-inch cubes…

(or use crumbled feta instead if you prefer) ๐Ÿ™‚

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And, FINALLY, your herbs…

Fresh rosemary and flat-leaf parsley, finely chopped!

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Toss everything together!!

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When the quinoa was COMPLETELY cooled, I added it to this mixture…

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Finally, the dressing for this Greek Quinoa ‘salad’…

I started with 2 garlic cloves, finely minced…

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Dried oregano… I rubbed the leaves between my fingers to release their flavor a bit…

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A touch of dijon mustard…

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Red wine vinegar…

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Salt (mine is kosher)…

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Freshly ground black pepper…

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And finally, extra-virgin olive oil…

WHISK as you add it!

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There it is!!

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Give it a taste and add whatever you think it needs!

Pour this dressing right over the quinoa/ veggie mixture…

I started by adding half the dressing, gave it a good toss, and then ended up adding the rest. I really don’t like when salads are over-dressed so I usually just add a bit of dressing at a time until it’s lightly coated but not soaked. I actually ended up using ALL the dressing here and it didn’t seem over-dressed by any means. It was just the right amount!

You can add it slowly and make that call for yourself though… I wouldn’t want to be responsible for your over-soaked salad. Thus, I’ve given you fair warning. Proceed with caution.

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You can cover this and store it in the fridge until about 30 minutes to an hour before you serve it. OR just serve it cold if you like. I prefer room temperature or warm… but it’s up to you and your family’s preference on that.

You’ll want to soak wooden skewers for at least 30 minutes before grilling so keep that in mind. ย Otherwise they’ll just set on fire and then they’re worthless to you and your chicken.

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It’s really up to you how many chicken pieces you put on each skewer. SInce my skewers were really long I was able to fit seven pieces of chicken on each one. If you want to serve each person their own set of skewers just put as many cubes on each skewer as you need to space them out evenly. Shake the marinade off the cubes a bit and let them sit out of the fridge for about 15 to 20 minutes while your grill heats up. This will allow them to come to room temperature.

They only need 2-4 minutes on each side so this is a fast process. My husband grilled them on our gas grill and had the heat between medium-high and high.

I also had him grill some pita bread that I had brushed with canola oil and seasoned with a little salt on both sides. This just gave the pitas a really crispy texture and added some good flavor to the meal!

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The only thing I left out of this recipe is a really good Tzatziki dip. It will make all the difference and will be well worth the effort to make. But actually it’s really no effort at all! You can find a MULTITUDE of delicious Tzatziki recipes by simply “Googling” them, but you can take a shortcut and click here, here, here, here, here…. or hereย and find some of the ones that sound delicious to me! They are pretty similar recipes really but some are quicker and more budget-friendly than others. Some are smoother, some are chunkier… you can make the one that sounds best to your taste buds, budget, and time restraints.

This meal will cost you between $2.95 and $3.93 per person but if you shop SALES for the veggies, etc it WILL be cheaper for sure!!! I made eight servings worth (1 dinner and two lunches for us) and it was $2.40 per person with all my bargain prices and bulk purchases I made! WOOHOO!

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A little closer?…

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Let’s zoom in even closer!!!….

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YUM

That’s all I have to say about that meal.

Here is yourย RECIPE!!!

Happy Greek Quinoa Day!

Love, ย Jenna

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4 thoughts on “Greek Quinoa

    • When I came to “Q” I drew a complete blank and the only thing that came to mind was “quail” or “quahog?!”… I think that was an ingredient on Chopped once? I think it’s some kind of shellfish. Neither of these options sounded good to me… I was so relieved when the Quinoa idea popped up.

      I wasn’t sure how we would all like quinoa but it turns out WE LOVE IT!! We are officially part of the Quinoa Fan Club!… If there is such a thing. Hope you like the recipe! (PS..Definitely make some Tzatziki to go with it!)

  1. This looks delicious. I have a package of Quinoa I bought to try a few weeks back and I haven’t been brave enough. You have encouraged me! YAY! P.S. I tried it. Keen wa is very fun to shout. I think I shall do it again. KEEN WA!. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • I agree! Sounds like something you shout while doing a fancy karate move…. Like “hi-ya!!”… But “keen-wah!!” instead… My girls don’t get it but they still think it’s funny to shout ๐Ÿ™‚

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