Vegetarian Food: Quinoa Pilaf and Quinoa and Leek Tart (Recipes)

What is quinoa and how do you cook it? Hard to pronounce, and historically hard to find, this mega-nutritious “pseudo grain” is finally having its day in the sun



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quinoa leek tart

Washing Quinoa
The key to cooking good quinoa is to ensure that you wash it properly. Most chefs recommend that you rinse quinoa several times in warm water to make sure it is free of saponins — a natural protective coating which is very bitter.

The following recipe is taken from Vegetarian At Home with The Culinary Institute of America by Katherine Polenz, which is scheduled for publication by John Wiley & Sons in the spring.

Quinoa and Leek Tart

This tart has a little bit of everything — lots of different complementary flavors that work together to make a great tart. Makes one 10-inch tart

  • 3 Tbsp butter
  • 1½ cups Macintosh apples, peeled, diced
  • 1½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 Tbsp fresh chopped tarragon
  • 2½ cups leeks, thinly sliced
  • 1½ cups chanterelle mushrooms, halved
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
  • 1½ cups Quinoa Pilaf (recipe below)
  • 1 cup hazelnuts, roughly chopped
  • 1 recipe tart dough (recipe below)
  • ¾ cup goat cheese, crumbled
  1. On a floured surface, roll out the tart dough to about 1/4-inch thick. Gently transfer the dough to a 10-inch tart pan. Chill the shell for 10-15 minutes.
  2. Dock the base of the chilled shell generously with a fork. Par-bake the shell in a preheated 350° F oven until just beginning to brown, about 8-10 minutes. Set aside.
  3. In a large sauté pan, heat 1 Tbsp of butter over medium heat. Add the apples and sauté until lightly caramelized, 6-8 minutes. Season with ginger and tarragon. Transfer the mixture to a large bowl, and reserve.
  4. Heat the remaining 2 Tbsp of butter in the pan. Add the leeks and sauté until translucent, about 3-4 minutes. Add the mushrooms, and continue to cook until they are softened and the leeks are golden, about 4-5 minutes more. Transfer to the bowl, and toss with the apple mixture, season well with salt and pepper.
  5. Spread the apple-mushroom mixture into an even layer inside the tart shell. Spread the quinoa into an even layer on top of the apple mixture. Sprinkle with hazelnuts. Bake the tart in the oven until the filling is heated through and the crust is golden, about 8-10 minutes more.
  6. Garnish the finished tart with crumbled goat cheese. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Quinoa Pilaf

Makes six servings

  • 2²∕₃ cups quinoa
  • 4 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 minced shallot
  • 2 cloves minced garlic
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1 sprig thyme
  • Salt, as needed
  • Freshly ground pepper, as needed
  1. Rinse all the quinoa together in a strainer.
  2. In a large pot, sweat the shallots and garlic in 3 Tbsp of the broth until the shallots are translucent, 1-2 minutes.
  3. Add the quinoa, remaining broth, bay leaf, and thyme and bring the liquid to a boil.
  4. Cover the pot tightly and place in a 350° F oven until the quinoa is tender and has absorbed all the liquid, about 8 minutes. Remove the pot from the oven and rest for 5 minutes. Remove bay leaf and thyme, season with salt and pepper, and fluff the quinoa with a fork before serving.

Tart Dough

Makes enough for one 10-inch tart

  • 1 cup all purpose flour
  • 6 Tbsp cold unsalted butter  
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 3 Tbsp ice water, or more as needed
  1. Place flour, butter, and salt in a bowl. Cut butter into the flour until it is the size of peas.
  2. Add the water and stir just until it starts to form moist clumps, adding a bit more water if necessary.
  3. Chill at least 30 minutes before rolling.

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