The above platter was consumed at one of my favorite restaurants in The Marais, the oldest (and arguably most charming) area of Paris. See photo of my walk home to the right. I have feasted here many a time, as there brunch is all-you-can-eat and makes all who come entirely happy. Today, however, was not brunch. I wanted nothing but their “plat orientale”, which had falafel, french fries, hummus, yoghurt dip, grape leaves, sausages, chicken wings, and, ut ohhhh, COUSCOUS. Nooo! Little wheat balls? That is the only magic on the plate I did not stuff into my hungry little face that afternoon. And I have been craving it ever since.
Thus, yesterday afternoon, I made myself a nice little lunch. A really satisfying lunch, in fact, as the quinoa I used to replace the couscous is not only gluten-free but is the highest in protein of any grain. No allergens here, and only amazing spices, aromas, and tastes. I even threw in a little raisin and avocado for funsies. They were very fun. Paris couscous should take note.
2 cups cooked quinoa (1 part uncooked quinoa slowly cooked in 2 parts water for 15 minutes)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. ground turmeric
1/4 tsp. ground cayenne pepper
1/4 tsp. paprika
1/4 tsp. cinnamon
1/8 tsp. ground cloves
1/4 tsp. sea salt
4 tbs. extra virgin olive oil
1 small yellow onion, chopped
1 avocado, diced (optional, but delicious)
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 8 minutes
- In a medium bowl, mix together quinoa, spices, and salt until completely incorporated. Set aside.
- Heat 2 tbs. olive oil over medium heat in a large saucepan. Saute’ onions until lightly caramelized (will be nice and golden brown, and very aromatic), about 2-3 minutes. Add additional two tablespoons olive oil, the raisins first, and then your quinoa. Mix until quinoa has been coated by oil, and reduce heat to low. Cook until warmed (about 4-5 minutes) stirring occasionally. Remove from heat, top with diced avocado, give it a few stirs, and serve it up in four bowls!