Serious Eats: Recipes

Dinner Tonight: Quinoa with Chard and Mushrooms

[Photograph: Blake Royer]

Last time it was farro; now it's quinoa. My wife is doing all she can to introduce healthier foods into my diet. I'm up for the challenge, as long as the ingredients I use still taste good and don't just act as vehicles for a bunch of vegetables that don't taste like much on their own. Whatever I cook should be valued first for its flavor, and then for how good it is for me. Often, you can make those two goals work in tandem; it's just that once you move "tastes great" out of first place and replace it with "healthy," it's all downhill.

Fortunately, I was really impressed with quinoa: It was nutty, fluffy, and tender. Though it looks like little pieces of brown cous cous and tastes like some kind of grain, it's actually a seed. Unlike most grains, it's a complete protein. I found this recipe in the January issue of Martha Stewart Living, which stirs in a highly flavorful mixture of Swiss chard and mushrooms to the cooked quinoa and tops it with shaves of Parmesan.

There's no doubt that it's good for you—but that doesn't mean it has to taste like sawdust.

About the author: Blake Royer founded The Paupered Chef with Nick Kindelsperger, where he writes about food and occasional travels. After a year in Estonia, he's now living in Chicago.

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