This toasted quinoa takes plain quinoa up a notch by toasting the grains & combining them with roasted garlic, elevating the dish to a fancy but simple side.
Toasted quinoa. The best new thing I have discovered…this week! Probably old news to some, but new to me. Michael and I were watching Food Network this weekend and they were making this salad with toasted farro. He toasted the farro before cooking it, so Michael said I should try it with quinoa. Genius. The flavor is 10x better and it is so easy to do!
According to Food52 “toasting grains imparts flavor thanks to the Maillard reaction, which happens when sugars and amino acids react at high temperatures – it’s what gives a caramelized flavor to everything.” I don’t really care too much about the science, all I know is that is makes a world of difference. And all it takes is cooking them over medium heat in a dry skillet for about 5 minutes.
Quinoa is one of the few plant based sources of protein that is a complete protein. This means it provides all nine essential amino acids necessary. Our bodies can’t produce these nutrients itself, so you have to get them frequently through food. Amino acids support strong muscles and help keep our immune systems running. If you are trying to eliminate some animal protein in your diet, look to quinoa. It is also naturally gluten free.
This recipe is super simple and really hands off. The instructions look long, but I swear it is super simple. I wanted to take plain old quinoa up a notch. Roasting garlic is a super simple way to add flavor to a dish. So I figured lets add it here. Garlic is also one of the oldest medicinal foods on the planet.
Toasting the quinoa adds a nuttiness to the dish. This pairs great with the sweetness from the caramelized garlic. And the possibilities are endless what you can do with this dish. Serve alongside roasted veggies, grilled meats, with a fried egg on top, in a salad. Double the batch while you are meal prepping so you can have some all week. Planning meals ahead is a great way to commit and succeed in healthy living.
Roasted Garlic Toasted Quinoa
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
- Peel the outer layers of the garlic skin off leaving the cloves still attached and chop off the top of the bulb.
- Place bulb in aluminum foil and drizzle 1/2 teaspoon olive oil over the exposed surface of the garlic, letting the oil sink down into the cloves. Wrap the garlic in aluminum foil and roast in the oven for 40 minutes.
- While garlic is roasting, toast the quinoa. Heat a sauté pan over medium-low heat. Place 1 cup of quinoa in pan and toast for 3-5 minutes until golden brown and smells nutty. Make sure to stir constantly so it doesn't burn.
- When the garlic is almost done, make the quinoa. Place toasted quinoa and 2 cups vegetable broth in a pan. Bring to a boil and then let simmer for 15 minutes or until liquid is absorbed.
- Once garlic is done and slightly cool, press on the bottom of each clove to push it out of its paper. Add garlic and 2 tablespoons olive oil to a jar. Place immersion blender into the bottom of the jar and blend into smooth.
- Stir garlic mixture through the cooked quinoa. Serve!
Have you ever tried to toast grains? Which ones and how did you like it?