Pineapple Quinoa with Goji Berries and Arugula by Divina Pe

I was off to my beach holiday in Bali and decided to keep the momentum of this blog. I was delighted when Divina Pe of the food blog, Sense & Serendipity agreed to my first guest blogger. I will have a series of 3 while I am away on holiday.

Divina Pe is from the Philippines and I am totally addicted to her blog. She has so much passion and such a perfectionist ;) in what she does. As summer is approaching, I thought it would be a great idea if she could post a healthy recipe. She agreed and I believe that this is what she does best :) And please do visit her blog to say Hi!

Pineapple Quinoa with Goji Berries and Arugula

At All Saint’s Day last Sunday, my family and I visited dad’s urn at the Heritage Memorial Park at Fort Bonifacio, Tagiug City. Dad passed away more than 2 years ago. His memory is still very much alive today. Every time I think about, cook with and eat food, I remember my dad and every time I think of dad, I remember the food he has cooked for us. It’s always a feast when dad cooks every Sunday and we are his helpers in the kitchen. When it comes to food, he shops with enthusiasm, cooks with passion and eats like it’s the best thing he has ever tasted. When dad eats, the world around him stops and eating is as joyous as a kid enjoys his new bike ride.

One of the ingredients that dad failed to eat is quinoa except through the feeding tube. Quinoa is not so popular a few years ago but I consider this pseudo-grain as the new rice. Quinoa would be perfect for him as he was also a diabetic. Unlike wheat or rice which is low in lysine (an amino acid), quinoa contains a good balanced of essential amino acids that are not found in other grains. It is also higher in unsaturated fats than most grains. They are definitely gluten-free and easy to digest. I’m supposed to pair this grain with edamame, which is another easy to digest ingredient, but we weren’t able to go out last Saturday to visit the Japanese food store because of the typhoon.

Quinoa

Quinoa

This vegetarian dish is especially for Penny and the upcoming summer in Australia. I chose to combine quinoa with high-enzyme pineapples, goji berries and arugula instead of chickpeas, lentils or black beans. Penny mentioned she doesn’t do well when consuming legumes of all types and this dish is healing to the digestive system. While the quinoa is easy to digest, the pineapples will help in digestion because of its enzyme, bromelain. The arugula’s peppery, mustardy and slight bitter flavors are great for summer and are best eaten raw. And one of the top 10 super foods goji berries helps heal all types of digestive problems (most especially when juiced) and can aid in recovery from digestive illnesses, such as ulcers and irritable bowel syndrome.

Pineapple

Pineapple

After a visiting daddy’s urn, the whole family had lunch in a very casual Chinese restaurant and every time I eat there, I feel depleted. It’s supposed to give me energy but I was feeling run down after the meal. I think I was the only one feeling that way. There are Chinese restaurants where they used a lot of over processed and refined oil. Most of the dishes we ate contained a lot of oil. While I was depleted, mom and my sister are up and running for a 50% sale at the mall.

This dish is great for people who are bloated or for those who ate too much the day before but who still want to eat for nourishment instead of just filling up the space in their still crowded stomach. This will give your digestive system a rest from refined and cooked oils (except for coconut oil). Your liver will thank you for that.

Pineapple Quinoa with Goji Berries and Arugula Quinoa
1 tbsp virgin coconut oil
1 small onion
1 tsp curry powder

½ tsp Thai saffron
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water or vegetable stock
½ tsp unrefined sea salt

Pineapple dressing

Pineapple dressing

Pineapple Dressing:
1 cup ripe diced pineapple
1 lime
1 tbsp wheat-free soy sauce
1 tbsp honey
2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 tsp chili oil or according to taste
Unrefined sea salt, to taste

Salad

Salad

Salad
1 ½ cups ripe diced pineapple
2 handfuls arugula
½ cup goji berries
1 cup mint leaves
1 cup cilantro leaves

Cooking quinoa

Cooking quinoa

Method:

  1. To prepare the quinoa, place the grain in a bowl and twice the amount of water. Swirl thoroughly and scoop out small stones and debris. Pour through a fine strainer. If the water is dirty, repeat the procedure. Drain well.
  2. To cook the quinoa, first peel and finely chop the onion. Heat a large heavy bottomed pot over low to medium heat; add the coconut oil, followed by the chopped onions. Season with salt and sweat the onions until soft and translucent. Add the curry powder and the Thai saffron and cook for another two minutes. Then add the quinoa, the water or stock and salt. Bring to a simmer, stirring the mixture to break up the lumps of quinoa, then cover and cook for 20-30 minutes or until the liquid has been absorbed and the grains are translucent.
  3. When it is ready, small steam holes should appear on the surface. Remove from the heat; place a tea towel under the lid to absorb any steam for about 7-10 minutes.
  4. While the quinoa is cooking, prepare the dressing.
  5. To prepare the dressing, first peel and diced the pineapple. Save 1 1/2 cups of pineapple for the salad and set aside. Then, juice the lime (about ¼ cu).  In a blender, combine the diced pineapple, lime juice, soy sauce and honey. Blend the mixture and in a slow stream, add the olive oil and the chili oil. Season with salt to taste and blend the mixture again. Transfer to a bowl, cover and set aside.
  6. To prepare your other mise-en-place, remove the mint and cilantro leaves from the stem and finely chop. Make sure that the arugula is washed and dried. Tear them into smaller pieces if they’re big. Then, gather the goji berries and diced pineapple.
  7. To assemble the dish, fluff the quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large bowl. Allow the quinoa to cool for about 5 minutes. Then, add the chopped mint and cilantro, the arugula and goji berries and toss to combine. Drizzle in the dressing and toss again. Season with salt and pepper, or more chili oil and lime juice, to taste. Serve at room temperature.
Quinoa salad

Quinoa salad

Notes:

  1. You can add some grated ginger to the dressing for extra flavor and zing, as well as for improving digestibility.
  2. You can also soak the quinoa overnight, rinse and drained before cooking. Use only about 1 cup of water instead of two.
  3. The chili oil that I used is infused with lots of chilies. The resulting oil is red in color which gives it a stronger flavor.
  4. It is important to wash quinoa thoroughly to remove the bitter tasting saponin coating. But there are brands of quinoa that doesn’t require rinsing.

You may also like another vibrant and simple dish called Orange Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes at Rouxbe Online Cooking School Test Kitchen. You’re going to love it.

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Thanks Divina. Another beautiful recipe and story from you. :) And thanks for thinking about my lack of tolerance to legume and adapting it for me. I think I need this now. Had a not so nice meal and I can still feel it sitting in my tummy…. bahhh