You’re probably wondering, why there are hardly any quinoa recipes on this blog? Well, maybe not. But you’re probably wondering now that I’ve brought it up. Being the child of a Bolivian mother, I have known the benefits of quinoa all of my life. I’ve been a passionate quinoa eater, eating sparingly when I was little, because you couldn’t buy quinoa at the health food store. Or anywhere for that matter. My mom would bring a few bags back to Germany (or wherever we happened to be living) in our suitcases and once it was gone, it was gone. Needless to say, we were very happy when the health food stores and organic supermarkets started carrying quinoa. It is quite a magic thing to eat after all.
Then, a few years ago suddenly everyone was cooking with quinoa. Or at least trying. I cannot tell you how many conversations I’ve had with friends and colleagues about this subject. And how many times I have been asked how to cook quinoa properly, how to tell when it’s done, etc. – the interest was huge! Then being vegan became “fashionable” (I’m not trying to talk down veganism or its relevance here, I’m just pointing out that there are people out there who are only living vegan temporarily for reasons other than a belief in a better world) and all the food blogs exploded with quinoa recipes. Demand for quinoa was higher than ever. Last year, it was decided that quinoa was kosher for Passover. I’m happy for all my Jewish friends, because boy, would I love quinoa in my Passover dishes. But again, it’s developments like these that are keeping quinoa prices up and soaring. You would think that this is good news for those who grow quinoa, but it’s not.
The farmers on the Altiplano, who depend on quinoa for their nutrition much more than they depend on any other ingredient they can grow under those difficult circumstances, can’t afford it any more. Quinoa is grown widely, for export purposes, taken away from the local markets. It’s tragic. And it makes me sad. So not featuring quinoa recipes on this blog, is kind of a silent protest on my part. One which I will temporarily break, because let’s face it: quinoa has gotten me through some tough times. Like when I went gluten-free in April of 2013. I didn’t know what to eat. I was very uncertain concerning anything processed and, because I knew eating gluten was no longer a good idea, I ate a dish that I knew was safe: steamed quinoa and fried zucchini. Also, I hardly had any time to cook when I received my diagnosis. It was a busy time at the office and between everything, I didn’t even have time to go shopping for gluten-free bread. Back then, this dish became a staple in my kitchen. It still is my go-to recipe for dinner when I don’t feel like cooking, but still want to eat something warm. Among all this talking-up of quinoa I forgot to mention: zucchinis are also pretty amazing. They may be my favourite vegetable. Like ever! This dish also makes a great quick lunch on Saturdays and I find it works really well the next day at the office. It’s ready in about ten minutes – which is spectacularly quick for a satisfying homemade meal – and while the zucchini is frying, you can tidy up your kitchen. No fuss!
By the way, I grew the zucchini in these pictures in my own garden on my terrace this summer. While the zucchini and pumpkin plants have already gone, some of the other plants are still going. I am still harvesting tomatoes! I have to pick them when they are still green (otherwise they’ll rot), but I let them ripe on my window sill. Yay!
Fried Zucchini with Steamed Quinoa (ingredients for one person)
two small or one large zucchini
a small chunk of butter (or vegetable oil for a vegan option)
salt, pepper, fresh parsley
A half cup of quinoa
Wash the zucchini. Cut off both ends and cut into even pieces (e.g. slices, halves, etc.) of about half a centimeter thickness.
Place a pan on your stove, add the butter and heat well. Add the zucchini once the butter has melted and allow zucchini to fry until crispy on one side, about four minutes. Season with salt and pepper.
Meanwhile place your quinoa into small pot, add about two cups of water and some salt. Boil quinoa for about seven minutes (until al dente).
Turn over zucchini pieces and fry for another four minutes until this side is also slightly roasted. Add the parsley and fry for another minute or two.
Arrange zucchini and quinoa on a plate and enjoy!