Friday, January 20, 2012

Quinoa Chili

Have you ever tried quinoa?  If you haven't, you really should.  And you should try out this recipe first.

Quinoa is like a grain, cooked the same way you would cook rice, but it is actually a relative of beets, spinach, and... tumbleweeds.  Yeah, I know tumbleweeds, I'm from Southern Utah.

Quinoa has a lot of health benefits, especially considering it's a complete protein, and has a fun texture and a sort of nutty flavor.  It is versatile and I'm excited to try it in all the new recipes I've picked out.

This one Matt actually picked out and it ended up being awesome!  This is definitely going to be one of our favorite go-to recipes from now on.  I changed it up a bit from the originial recipe to include one of my favorite foods ever, sweet potatoes!

Quinoa Chili 
Adapted from allrecipes


1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed thoroughly
1 ½ cups water
1 pound extra lean ground turkey
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 onion, chopped
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 jalapeno pepper, seeded and minced
1 tablespoon chili powder
1 tablespoon ground cumin
2 (28 ounce) cans crushed tomatoes
2 (19 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
1 green bell pepper, chopped
2 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and chopped 
1 teaspoon dried oregano leaves
1 teaspoon dried parsley
salt and ground black pepper to taste
1 cup frozen corn kernels, thawed
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
Sour cream


Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a saucepan over high heat. Reduce heat to medium-low, cover, and simmer until the quinoa is tender, and the water has been absorbed, about 15 to 20 minutes.  (I just used my rice cooker and it came out wonderful and fluffy.) The typical amount of water called for to make quinoa is 2 c. per 1 c. of quinoa.  I read, however, that if you rinse the quinoa thoroughly it will retain some of the water, then add 1 ½ c. water per 1 c. of quinoa and it will come out fluffier.  I would have thought it opposite (the more water the fluffier) but it came out perfectly fluffy when I tried it.

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat and stir in the ground turkey. Cook and stir until the turkey is crumbly, evenly browned, and no longer pink. Drain if necessary and set aside.

Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Stir in the onion, garlic, and jalapeno pepper; cook and stir until the onion has softened and turned translucent, about 5 minutes. Season with chili powder and cumin; cook 1 minute more to release the flavor of the spices. 

Prep tip: If you don’t have long to let the stew simmer, cut the sweet potatoes into smaller chunks for speedier cooking, or pre-cook them by placing them on a microwave safe dish with a very small amount of water and microwave for a few minutes until they are tender. 

Stir in the tomatoes (pour in one can of tomatoes and add the second at the end if it needs more liquid), black beans, green bell pepper, sweet potato, oregano, and parsley. Season to taste with salt and black pepper. Simmer until the bell peppers are tender, about 20 minutes.

Once the vegetables are tender, stir in the quinoa, ground turkey, corn kernels, and second can of tomatoes if needed. Return to a simmer, and cook 5 minutes to reheat. Stir in the cilantro and top with sour cream to serve.

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