Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Rice-i-Noa - a healthier alternative to a familiar box

This is week three of the four-week Healthy New Year promotion that Virtual Potluck is doing in conjunction with California Olive Ranch and Bob's Red Mill.

Each week, we're paring a whole grain from Bob's Red Mill with with healthy olive oil from California Olive Ranch.

And each week, I'll be giving away the same olive oil and grain combo that I'm working with. Sweet, huh?

This week, I worked with quinoa from Bob's Red Mill and Arbosana extra virgin olive oil from California Olive Ranch.

Even the most die-hard organic locavore slow-food foodies probably have some sort of junk food dirty secret...some beloved prepared food that is the exception to the fresh-cooking rule.

I have a few of them, I'll admit it. When it comes to the dinner table, I have a strange love for Rice-a-Roni. It's been a looooong time since I've bought any, but I've managed to tame that beast by making my own versions. But this time, I've upped the ante by replacing the pasta with quinoa.

The benefit of using quinoa is that unlike (most) pasta, this little round grain is packed with protein. Okay, technically, maybe it isn't a grain. But it is a seed, so it's close enough.

By using protein-rich quinoa instead of standard pasta, this dish changes from a starchy side dish to something that's closer to being dinner.

Presentation-wise, it still looks like a side dish, but you can dress it up by stuffing it into a pepper or some other vegetable. Me, I'm fine with a bowl and a fork.


2 tablespoons California Olive Ranch Arbosana olive oil
1 tablespoon butter
1/2 medium onion, diced
1/2 cup Bob's Red Mill quinoa
1/2 cup rice
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1 teaspoon poultry seasoning
Salt, to taste

Heat the olive oil and butter in a large saute pan with a lid. Add the onion, quinoa, and rice.

Just for the fun of it, here's a really close view.
Cook, stirring as needed, until the onion has softened, the quinoa is lightly toasted, and the rice turns whiter.

Add the chicken stock and poultry seasoning. Bring to a boil. Taste for seasoning - depending on how salty the stock is, you might not need additional salt.

Reduce to a simmer, and cook until just about all the all the liquid is absorbed - about 15 minutes. Turn the heat off and let it sit for another 15 minutes with the cover on.

Fluff with a fork and serve.

If you like you can drizzle the rice with some additional olive oil before serving.

To enter the giveaway: CLOSED. This week's lucky winner is Pat R. A new giveaway starts Jan 25.

For your mandatory entry, visit either the Bob's Red Mill or California Olive Ranch Facebook page and retrieve the current week's Virtual Potluck code word. Use that code word in a sentence in your comment here.

For an extra entry: Follow Bob's Red Mill, California Olive Ranch, and Virtual Potluck on Twitter, and tweet a link to the contest using the #virtualpotluck hashtag. Then comment here again, telling me that you've tweeted..

For some good karma (not an extra entry) I'd love it if you'd like Cookistry on Facebook. If you already follow, I appreciate it!

More Blogs, More Ways to Win: Get additional entries in each week's giveaways by visiting our host blog where you'll find a complete list of the other participating Virtual Potluck Bloggers. You could win there, too! So let's do the math on this one. Twelve bloggers, 4 weeks - that's 48 recipes and 48 chances to win something. Not a bad deal, hmmmm?

One more added bonus! If you buy California Olive Ranch oil from their online store, you can get a 10% discount by entering coupon code BLOGFRIENDS at checkout.

Contest begins when this posts and ends at midnight, mountain time, on Sunday, January 22. Open to US residents only.

Bob's Red Mill and California Olive Ranch supplied us with the grains and olive oils to work with and will be shipping the product to the winners.

Did you miss the last two posts? Check out:
Mini flatbreads with hummus and a warm olive salad
Whole grain and olive oil muffins