Passover can be a difficult holiday. This is part of the reason I enjoy it. I like the challenge. I like to do without and relearn to appreciate something that I take for granted. It’s a time to think about all types of suffering the world has seen and continues to see. I like to spend time with my family and reflect on how fortunate I am to be born in this era and in this country.
I also like the culinary challenges it brings. I’m used to doing without meat. Doing without bread, pasta, grains, legumes and tofu is not as easy. Needless to say, I’ve eaten a lot of eggs and cheese this week. I’ve also enjoyed soup, root vegetables, salad, fish, and potatoes. But perhaps the saving grace has been quinoa.
Considered to be a superfood*, it is native to the Andes of South America. Interestingly, it’s not actually a grain, but is the seed of a plant related to spinach and chard. Perhaps that is why you can eat it during Passover? I always thought it was allowed because it didn’t exist in earlier times, thus there were no rules against it. Once again, I am corrected.
Quinoa is high in protein, contains all nine of the essential amino acids and is also rich in minerals like iron and manganese. I think we will incorporate this into our diet more regularly. When cooked, it has a nutty flavor and seems to readily work where I would typically use rice. It is also gluten-free and fiber rich. Seems to have something for everyone.
Asparagus, Seafood and Quinoa
serves 2 hungry folks
2 c. quinoa
1/4 red onion
1 bunch fresh asparagus
5-6 button mushrooms
1 1/2 c. frozen assorted seafood (shrimp, calamari, scallops). I like the package Trader Joe’ s sells.
2 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp. dried parsley
1. Prepare quinoa as you would rice. I use my rice cooker, my very first kitchen appliance. You can also cook it on the stove top or in the microwave. Use 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water.
2. Wash vegetables.
3. Heat saucepan over medium high heat.
4. Thinly slice onion.
5. Add onion to pan and saute 1-2 minutes.
6. Meanwhile, slice mushrooms. Add to pan when onions begin to soften.
7. Saute mushrooms for 3-4 minutes.
8. Trim ends off asparagus. Slice in 2-3 inch long sections.
9. Add asparagus to pan. Stir to combine.
10. If the pan seems too dry, add up to a 1/2 cup water, broth or stock.
11. Add seafood. Cook covered several minutes, until seafood is cooked. Shrimp should be pink, calamari and scallops are no longer translucent.
12. Add parsley and salt to taste.
*Superfoods are not just foods that are consumed by superheroes. They are foods that are rich in vitamins, antioxidants and nutrients essential to sustain life.