I'm always looking for ways to get some healthy grains on the plate, but I just shiver at the thought of serving up bland, well, anything. Quinoa and other grains just need a little help to be exciting. This Spiky Thyme Cranberry Quinoa is a surprising and healthful side dish that everyone in my family really enjoys. The Spiky Thyme is a unique blend of earthy yet bright flavor that pairs perfectly with the zesty dried cranberries.
The Perfect Quinoa Technique!
The best part is that you can master this dish and use my full proof quinoa technique to mix up any flavor combination you can imagine, and keep this healthy side dish exciting. The secret to bringing out the full flavor of quinoa is to gently toast the grains before adding any liquid. Adding a touch of olive oil to your pan will keep the quinoa from burning, and add a bit of richness as well. You only want to let the quinoa warm up a bit. If you start to see a lot of browning or some grains turning black then you've let it go too long.
Try cooking your grains in a wide flat pot instead of a more narrow sauce pot. I find that the grains absorb the liquids and cook more evenly when they can spread out in the pan.
Be sure to have your broth measured and ready to add before you begin toasting the quinoa. Your ratio of quinoa to liquid is 1 part quinoa and 2 parts cooking liquid.
Use chicken stock or broth instead of water to flavor to the quinoa mixture. Adding stock will add plenty of salt to the dish. There is no need to flavor with anything more than the Spiky Thyme and dried Cranberries.
"What's in your head, in your head..." -- The Cranberries
Spiky Thyme Cranberry Quinoa
- 1 Tbsp olive oil
- 1 Cup Quinoa
- 2 Cups Chicken Stock or Broth
- ¼ Cups Dried Cranberries Craisins
- 1 Tsp Spiky Thyme
- In a medium sauce pan, heat 1 tbsp olive oil on medium heat.
- Measure out 1 cup of quinoa and add it to the pan. Gently stir quinoa and get a light coating of oil on each grain. Let the quinoa toast for 2-3 minutes.
- Add chicken stock, dried cranberries, and spiky thyme to the pot. Gently stir to make sure spices and cranberries are evenly distributed.
- Bring liquid to a simmer, and let cook, covered, on low heat for 25 minutes.
- When the quinoa is finished, all of the chicken stock will be absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork and serve.