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Quinoa and Chile Casserole

No recipe image available.Although quinoa (keen-wah) is new to the American market, it was a staple of the ancient peoples of Peru, who called it 'the mother grain'. Hailed as the 'super-grain of the future', quinoa contains more protein than any other grain, and is considered a complete protein because it contains all eight essential amino acids. Quinoa can be used in much the same way as rice is used.

Recipe Ingredients:

2/3 cup pine nuts
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil - divided use
1 cup quinoa*
2 tablespoons coarsely chopped oven-dried tomatoes (or sun-dried)
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 tablespoons chopped fresh cilantro
2 to 3 teaspoons balsamic vinegar
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
2 (4-ounce) cans whole green chiles
1 cup shredded Monterey Jack cheese

Cooking Directions:

  1. Heat 1 teaspoon oil in a large (4 to 5-quart) saucepan over medium heat; add pine nuts and stir until lightly toasted. Remove from pan and set aside.
  2. Add remaining 1 tablespoon oil into same pan and add the quinoa. Stir constantly over medium-high heat until quinoa gives off a toasted aroma, about 3 minutes.
  3. Add tomatoes and broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer, stirring occasionally, until quinoa is tender, about 10 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in pine nuts, green onions and cilantro. Season with vinegar, salt and pepper. Cover and let stand.
  4. Drain chiles and split in half lengthwise; discard seeds. Arrange half the chiles in a 2-quart casserole (12x8x2-inch). Spread quinoa mixture evenly over chiles. Top with remaining chiles and sprinkle with the cheese.
  5. Bake in a 375°F (190°C) oven for 20 minutes or until hot and cheese has melted.

Makes 6 servings.

*Quinoa can be found in most health-food stores and some supermarkets. It's available packaged as a grain, ground into flour and in several forms of pasta.