I hope you are enjoying this awesome spring weather. I have been spending a lot of time at the park reading, eating, and taking in the sun rays. I have a few recipes that I want to share but since I cooked this one today, I thought to post it while everything is fresh in my mind.
Ever since I tasted the mushroom paella at Joya in Palo Alto, I have wanted to replicate it at home. The one challenge is that the acid from the tomatoes inhibits brown rice from cooking. I made paella a few months ago adding the sofrito after the rice was cooked. I was really close but was not completely satisfied. The recipe was put to the side for more tweaking.
Since quinoa has been my grain of choice the past few weeks I decided to use it in my recipe instead of rice. Quinoa is a truly awesome grain replacement and is extremely beneficial. It’s actually not a grain but a seed that is used as a grain. Quinoa is a complete protein containing all 9 essential amino acids our bodies require.
I also like that quinoa is alkaline and not acidic for the body. Having a high acidic diet leads to several health issues; therefore, incorporating more alkaline foods is important for balance. Like all other seeds and even grains, quinoa should be soaked for at least 8 hours before cooking to improve digestion and nutrient assimilation.
Fava beans have been making an appearance in my vegetable boxes and I have also seen them recently at the farmer’s markets. These fiber rich beans are a good source of protein, folate, and several minerals. Fresh fava beans are a spring treat and are great as a dip, added to salads or tossed into soups, stews, and other dishes.
Now you will see that salt is not included in my recipes. If you want to know why, you can read my rant (yes, I was truly ranting that day). If you absolutely need salt then wait to sprinkle some on at the table. Waiting to add salt after the food is cooked significantly reduces daily salt intake. But if you ask me, I say try it without salt .
Though I sometimes miss the salt, cooking without salt is a good thing. My taste buds are developing and my meals are getting tastier as the days go. I also learned that using lemon juice helps add kick to a dish without increasing sodium significantly. I fell good that I am doing something good for my body, and hope to share salt free recipes with others so that they can reduce their salt intake as well.
But enough of that, let’s move on to the recipe and get to cooking!
1 cup portobello or crimini mushrooms, large dice
1 cup oyster mushrooms, sliced
1 onion, diced
1 bay leaf
3/4 teaspoon smoked paprika
1/8 teaspoon anatto (achiote)
1/2 teaspoon cumin
4 cloves garlic, crushed
1 1/2 roma tomatoes, grated
1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
1/2 teaspoon onion powder
1 tablespoon fresh thyme
1/8 teaspoon cayenne
pinch of saffron
1 cup quinoa, soaked for 20 minutes or longer
1 1/2 tbs lemon juice (about 1 lemon)
3/4 cup fresh fava beans
1/4 cup fresh parsley, chopped
Heat oil in large skillet and brown the mushrooms.
While the mushrooms are cooking, heat oil in a small pot and saute onions until soft (about 5 minutes). Add the mushrooms, bay leaf, smoked paprika, garlic and cumin and saute until fragrant (about 1 – 2 minutes). Add the tomatoes and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
Add 1 1/4 cups water, garlic powder, onion powder, thyme, cayenne, and saffron and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa, reduce the heat, cover and cook for 22 minutes.
After 22 minutes, add the lemon juice, fava beans, and parsley, cover and cook for additional 3 minutes. Turn off the heat, keep covered, and let sit for 5-7 minutes.
Fluff with fork and serve.