Today I’m excited to have Jill Nussinow AKA The Veggie Queen here with us! I’ve been a fan of Jill’s work ever since I met her on Twitter. She was instrumental in my decision to buy a pressure cooker and for that I am eternally grateful. Please join me in welcoming her.
If I had a name like Jill Smith people probably wouldn’t know me as The Veggie Queen™. But my name is hard to pronounce and remember so when I was introduced by the name The Veggie Queen™ at a cooking school in Sonoma County where I live, I took the name and ran with it. I already had an established business, Vegetarian Connection, but this name was much easier to spell and remember.
I have been teaching vegetarian and vegan cooking since 1986. I’ve taught at cooking schools and I’ve been an adjunct culinary instructor at Santa Rosa Junior College since 1990, teaching what I call the “odd” classes: Principles of Vegetarian Cooking, Gourmet Vegetarian, Cooking With Herbs, Salads and Salad Dressings and Lowfat Cooking. Starting in 1996, I added pressure cooking teacher to my arsenal and I have not looked back since.
I am a Registered Dietitian and the author of the award-winning cookbooks, The Veggie Queen: Vegetables Get the Royal Treatment and The New Fast Food: The Veggie Queen Pressure Cooks Whole Food Meals in Less than 30 Minutes. I also produced and star in the DVD, Pressure Cooking, A Fresh Look: Delicous Dishes in Minutes. My website http://www.theveggiequeen.com blog features my infrequent writing. You can see more of what I do there.
I want to thank Wendy for letting me do this post. Quinoa is one of my favorite grains as I eat a mostly gluten-free diet.
I love quinoa and have since the first time that I tasted it which was at least 15 years ago. At that time there were very few recipes that I could count on to turn out right. It took me a while to perfect my quinoa cooking method on the stove top: 1 cup quinoa, 1 ¾ cups liquid, 12 minutes on the heat and 5 minutes off the heat. My quinoa turns out perfectly almost every time, and I have demonstrated how to make it hundreds of times to thousands of people.
In addition to this great tasting recipe, I share the directions for pressure cooking quinoa. I resisted doing this for years because quinoa already cooks so quickly. Yet, cutting the cooking time in half is quite useful. Cook 1 cup quinoa, 1 ¼ cups liquid, 5 minutes at high pressure with a natural pressure release. Additionally, you save at least 50% on your energy usage which is so environmentally friendly.
No matter how I cook it, quinoa is a staple in my house and my go-to gluten-free grain. I especially like to mix the white and red quinoa but in this recipe since the saffron colors the quinoa, it’s better to use the white which provides better visual contrast with the green vegetables. The lemon zest and juice add great fresh flavor and wonderful antioxidant and anticancer properties. Don’t ever mention that this dish might actually be good for you.
Saffron Quinoa with Seasonal Vegetables
- ¼ cup warm or hot water
- A pinch of saffron threads
- 1 cup quinoa rinsed
- 2 teaspoons olive oil if desired
- 1 cup sliced leek or onion
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
- 1 cup sliced snow or sugar snap peas about 12 medium peas
- 1 cup asparagus sliced into 1-inch pieces (about 8 medium spears)
- 1 to 2 teaspoons lemon zest from an organic lemon
- 2 tablespoons toasted pine nuts or sliced or slivered almonds
- ¼ cup chopped fresh herbs such as parsley with a bit of chives or dill
- Drizzle of lemon olive oil or lemon juice
- Salt and pepper to taste
- Soak the saffron in the ¼ cup of water for at least 5 minutes. Heat a saucepan over medium heat. Add the olive oil and then the leek or onion and garlic. Sauté for a few minutes. Add the quinoa and toast it. Add the saffron and the soaking water. Add the broth. Stir and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce to a simmer. Let simmer for 12 minutes on the heat. Remove from the heat and add the peas and asparagus. Replace the cover and let sit for 5 minutes. Check to be sure that the quinoa is cooked through (it will have little white rings). Stir and add the lemon zest pine nuts or almonds and herbs. When ready to serve, add the lemon olive oil or lemon juice right before serving. Season to taste with salt and pepper, if desired.
- Pressure cooking directions: Follow the same directions as above, locking the lid on the pressure cooker and bringing to high pressure for 5 minutes. Let the pressure come down naturally. When it does, carefully open the lid, add the asparagus and peas and put the lid back on for 2 minutes. Stir, add lemon zest, nuts and herbs.
Recipe NotesServings 4, Calories 233, Fat 6.9g, Carbohydrates 33.9g, Protein 10.3g, Cholesterol 0mg, Sodium 297mg, Fiber 5.3g, Sugars 2.8g, WW Pts 6
Note: My method for cooking perfect quinoa every time includes decreasing the amount of water by ¼ cup for each additional cup of grain. For example, when making 2 cups of quinoa, use only 3 ¼ cups liquid on the stove top. When making 3 cups, use 5 cups of liquid.
©2013, Jill Nussinow, MS, RD, The Veggie Queen
Jill Nussinow loves teaching people how to cook quinoa, as well as cooking it and eating it. She makes it in many different ways. Both of her books contain quinoa recipes, most often paired with vegetables. Her website is . You can sign up for her monthly newsletter there.