What species of goosefoot has a delightfully nutty flavor and springy texture? QUINOA!
Which gluten-free pseudocereal is ridonkulously high in protein, fiber, amino acids, calcium, vitamin E, manganese, iron, and various phytonutrients? QUINOA!
(The huge demand for which staple Bolivian crop may now be compromising soil quality and local availability in the communities that produce it? Err…quinoa. Nobody’s perfect.)
As you might have gathered, this Motel Gourmet experiment was a quinoa salad, named “taco” after the seasoning packet and not as a comparison to actual tacos. I served it from my rice cooker straight into a Ziplock, then popped it in my travelin’ bag and headed off for a picnic! Zero points for presentation, but it is easy to eat, easy to clean up, and light-weight.
A bag with a very well-developed sense of self.
MoGo’s Kickin’ Quinoa Taco Salad (serves 1)
1 medium onion, chopped
1 clove garlic, minced
1 small zucchini or some mushrooms, chopped
1 tsp olive oil
Taco seasoning (I found a low-sodium packet!)
1/4 cup quinoa
1/2 cup chicken broth (or veggie broth, water + bouillon cube, or just water)
1 small bell pepper in your preferred color
Juice from half a lemon
2 tbsp shredded or crumbled cheese
- Plop the onion in your rice cooker with the olive oil. Cover and turn on. Cook, uncovering to stir occasionally, until the onions soften and begin to brown. Depending on your cooker, this may involve pressing COOK more than once, or holding down the rice pot to provide enough weight to keep the heating element engaged, but the actual onion cooking shouldn’t take long since the heat is very high.
- Add the garlic and cook until fragrant, 1 minute. Add zucchini/mushrooms, quinoa, broth, and a spoonful of taco seasoning. Stir, cover, and let cook until the switch pops from COOK to WARM. Unplug the pot, uncover, and let cool a bit.
- Meanwhile, chop the bell pepper into your Ziplock, and squeeze lemon juice over.
- Add cooled quinoa to the baggie along with the cheese (I used feta). Mush with your hands to incorporate all ingredients, then go find a nice picnic spot!
Super-Important MoGo Tip: There may be some food left clinging to your rice pot. If you’re in a motel room, fill the pot partway with water, scrub around to remove scraps, and flush them down the toilet. You don’t want a tiny motel sink clogging up with water-logged quinoa. The toilet is made to deal with sterner stuff! After all the bits are gone, return to the sink for soapy business as usual.
Wondering why I’m writing this series? Click here for About the Motel Gourmet.