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Quinoa Pilaf With Shiitake Mushrooms, Carrots And Pecans

10/02/2012 09:26 am ET | Updated Dec 02, 2012
Jennifer Segal

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Eating healthy should never leave you hungry, which is one of the reasons I love quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). It looks like couscous and eats like a grain but it's actually the tiny seed of a plant related to leafy greens like spinach and Swiss chard. Quinoa is incredibly high in protein and fiber, and contains all of the essential amino acids your body needs. What's more? It's gluten-free, cooks quickly (just 15 minutes!) and can take on limitless flavors. Here, I've gussied it up with sautéed onions, carrots, shiitake mushrooms and pecans to make an earthy and hearty dish.

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One of the secrets to making quinoa is to ignore the instructions on the package, which almost always call for too much liquid and result in mushy quinoa. For quinoa that is light, fluffy and slightly crunchy, the ideal ratio is 1 cup quinoa to 1-2/3 cup liquid.

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To begin, bring the chicken broth and quinoa to a boil, then cover the pot and simmer for 15 minutes. It will look like this when it's done...

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In the meantime, cook the the onions gently in olive oil until they start to soften.

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Add the diced carrots and thyme and continue to cook until the carrots are just tender.

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Next, stir in the shiitake mushrooms and garlic, and continue cooking until the mushrooms are done.

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Finally, stir in the cooked quinoa, pecans and parsley.

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That's all there is to it. Transfer to a serving dish and enjoy as a hearty side or meatless main course. CLICK HERE TO GET THE RECIPE

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