It is easy to get into a rut when looking for interesting ways to spice up a meal. Potatoes, white rice and pasta are lackluster compared to the flavor and texture of Quinoa and Barley. Try them as a side or as a tasty addition to your next recipe.
Pronounced “keen-wah”, this is a seed indigenous to South America. It has a complete set of amino acids and is so high in protein that it is considered a complete protein source. High in fiber, phosphorus, iron and magnesium, Quinoa is a favorite among vegans as it is gluten free. It has a slightly nutty flavor and pops to the bite.
Look for “pre-rinsed” Quinoa, which removes the bitter-tasting saponin or outer coating. Most brands available in stores are pre-rinsed. Otherwise, soak for a few hours in water, rinse, soak again and rinse through a cheesecloth.
2 c. chicken or turkey broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 c. Quinoa, pre-rinsed
1/4 c. dried cranberries
2. T almonds, sliced
2 tsp. scallions, chopped
S & P
Add Quinoa to broth and cook for 15-20 minutes, or until the seeds pop open. Add additional water or broth if necessary to keep it moist through cooking. Add cranberries, almonds and salt and pepper to taste. Sprinkle with scallions. Serve warm or cold.
Barley is an ancient cereal grain from the Near East that is high in fiber. The nutritional value ranges from lowering cholesterol and regulating blood sugar to improving digestive health and regularity. Dehulled barley still contains the bran and germ while pearl barley has had the bran steamed away from it.
It is a versatile grain and can be added to soups and stews and used as a substitute for rice and pasta in many cases.
Crockpot Beef and Barley Stew
1 1/2 lbs. stew meat, cut up in large bite-size chunks (they will shrink when cooked)
1 c. barley, rinsed
6 c. beef broth, homemade or low-sodium canned
1 T. Worcestershire Sauce
2 c. carrots, sliced
1 turnip, chopped
1 onion, chopped
2 c. green beans
1/2 c. flour
Place barley, meat, Worcestershire, broth, onion, turnips and carrots into crockpot. Add water if needed, to cover ingredients by one inch. Cook on low for 6-8 hours, or until meat and vegetables are tender. Add green beans and cook to heat. In a cup, mix flour with 1 cup of water to make a “slurry” and add to beef stew. Heat and stir until thickened and flavor with salt and pepper.
A crusty whole-grain bread is a hearty accompaniment to this comforting stew.