Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Quinoa With Thyme and Taleggio

I found Nigel Slater's Real Fast Food: 350 Recipes Ready-to-Eat in 30 Minutes at a local used book store for $5.95 which was too good of a bargain to pass up.  (This justification is of course why my cookbook collection is so out of hand, but hey, that is just .17 cents a recipe!)  ;-)  I tagged quite a few recipes I wanted to try but I kept going back to his Quinoa With Thyme and TaleggioAlthough with the cheese, this is not the most low-cal of dinners, it does feature quinoa, ancient grain, and considered to be the "gold of the Inca's" because it gave their warriors so much stamina. Quinoa is not only high in protein, it is a complete protein, meaning that it has all nine essential amino acids. It is also high in manganese, magnesium, iron and copper. It is one powerful little grain. I eat it frequently but had not really thought about putting it with cheese in a risotto-style dish which is why this recipe attracted me.

Nigel says: "The pleasure of this substantial supper  is in the mixture of textures: the tiny bobbles of quinoa and the melting cubes of hot cheese. Almost any cheese will work well, but particularly Gruyere, Cheddar and Mozzarella. Save a few thyme leaves for scattering over the top as you serve it.  

Quinoa With Thyme and Taleggio
Real Fast Food by Nigel Slater
(For 2 as a Main Course with Salad)

2 Tbsp olive oil
leaves from 4 sprigs of fresh thyme
1 bay leaf (optional)
1 medium leek, trimmed and shredded
1 clove garlic, sliced
2/3 cup quinoa
1 wineglass of dry white wine
1 1/4 cups hot vegetable stock
4 ounces Taleggio cheese, sliced

Warm the oil with the thyme leaves, and a bay leaf if you have one, in a pan over gentle heat.  Add the leek and garlic and cook for 5 minutes, covered, stirring from time to time. Tip in the quinoa and the wine. Let the wine bubble away (you need its flavor, not its liquid), then pour in the hot stock. Simmer, stirring occasionally, for 10 minutes, watching that is does not stick on the bottom.  When the stock has been absorbed by the quinoa grains, stir in the cheese, serve right away. 

Notes/Results:  Not the prettiest of dishes, but good and definitely comfort food! The cheese adds a creaminess that as Niel says is wonderful with the texture of the quinoa. I used chicken broth because I had some I needed to use and I lessened the cheese by an ounce, using 3 ounces total, which seemed plenty to me. (Taleggio is about 84 calories and once and 50% fat). The recipe said to "slice" the cheese but I cubed it instead to spread out the cheesy goodness even more. Served with a simple green salad, it was a hearty, delicious meal. I would make it again, maybe next time experimenting with different cheeses. It also makes me want to try using my quinoa in some different ways.  


  1. I would never have thought to make quinoa risotto style, who knew it was so versatile?
    I think this sounds like an excellent dish, the Gruyere would be really good too.
    I think I might have the same white bowl with the handle..

  2. I have to confess I have never eaten quinoa. I have been seeing it on a lot of posts lately. I love all the flavors in here and I'm feeling inspired to try it. This is healthy comfort food, even with the cheese!

  3. $5.95 would have me buying that cookbook too. I've heard many good things about quinoa, I should see if we have some around here.

  4. I have Nigel Slater's Kitchen Diaries and have read his autobiography, Toast. He reminds me of a male Nigella Lawson in that his writing evokes such a sense of the pleasure of food and cooking. Plus, his dishes are always easy and delicious. The recipe you posted looks great. It is eight degrees below zero here in Northern Illinois. School has been cancelled today, so I plan on cooking up a bunch of comforting dishes!

  5. Very healthy and delicious. I haven't had quinoa for a very long tim.e

  6. Natashya--I know, versatile and so good for you too! The Gruyere would be my next choice to try.

    Reeni--It's worth a try I think, it makes a nice change sometimes from rice and pasta. I have a curry quinoa salad I make all the time.

    Kat--Can't pass up a bargain right!?! I hope you can find some to try!

    Matt--I have his book Appetite too but haven't had much experience with his recipes so I am looking forward to trying more. Brr! I hope it warms up soon there!

    Ivy--thanks! I forget how good quinoa can be sometimes.

  7. Deb,
    I'd like to participate in this week's Souper Sunday.
    My soup: Vegetable Beef Soup
    My blog title: Joie de vivre: An amateur gourmet's guide
    Blog URL:

    Soup post URL:

    I've linked to Kahakai kitchen!

  8. I've bookmarked this, I am always looking for ways to use quinoa

  9. I had never thought of quinoa cooked risotto style either - but I love Nigel Slater and he is usually right! And everything is better with melty cheese.

  10. Joie de vivre--great! I'll add you to the round up on Sunday. So glad you are joining!

    Pam--this is a good and different one.

    Foodycat--I am beginning to love Nigel too. Can't wait to cook more from his book.

  11. Hmm quinoa risotto.. Sounds good to me. It's one grain I always have in my pantry.

  12. Cool post as for me. It would be great to read something more about that theme. Thnx for posting this information.
    Joan Stepsen
    Computer geek


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