Toasted Quinoa with Scallops & Peas

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What is Quinoa?

Quinoa is a grain that originated in countries all over South America and has been grown domestically for over 4,000 years. It was a staple food of the ancient Incas but has now become a popular health food all over the world. It comes in two varieties – red and white. Both types are very high in nutrients such as essential amino acids, calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.  Quinoa is a great source of complete protein (18%), so it’s a perfect food for vegetarians/vegans or those lacking protein in their diets.  And it is full of dietary fiber, more than any cereal, and is gluten-free!  Plus its great taste and delicate texture makes it a perfect health food!

Quinoa can be found in health-food or natural food stores and in the grain section of most supermarkets.

Reference: Wikepedia – Quinoa


(makes 6 servings)

Pack of fresh or frozen sea scallops
Soy sauce – 4 teaspoons
Olive oil – 4 tablespoons
Toasted quinoa (rinsed well) – 1 1/2 cups
Water – 3 cups
Snow peas – 2 handfulls
Sesame seed oil – 1 teaspoon
Scallions (or shallot) – thinly sliced – 1/2 cup
Red bell pepper – chopped – 1/3 cup
Dill, finely chopped – 1/4 cup
1 teaspoon of salt and freshly ground pepper to taste


  1. Put the thawed raw scallops in a bowl and add 2 teaspoons of soy sauce. Mix it well and let them marinate for 15 minutes.
  2. While scallops are marinating, toast the quinoa on a dry skillet over medium heat for 5-10 minutes or until it begins to crackle. Take off the heat, place all of it in a sieve and rinse well with water (this removes the bitter protective cover of the grain).
  3.  In a medium pot, put 3 cups of water, salt and rinsed quinoa, and bring to a boil. Stir once, cover with a lid and let it simmer on medium heat for 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed and quinoa is soft.  Remove from the heat and let it stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Finally, mix in the snow peas, re-cover and let stand for another 5 minutes.
  4. When scallops are finished marinating, pat them with a paper towel to remove extra soy sauce, and cook them on a hot skillet with one tablespoon of olive oil. They should be firm and cooked through. About 2-3 mintues.
  5. In a large bowl, whisk together 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 2 teaspoons of soy sauce, and sesame oil. Mix in the quinoa, snow peas, scallions, dill and bell pepper. Mix gently to combine and top off with the cooked scallops. Add some freshly ground pepper just before serving.

Tip: As a vegetarian alternative, or to try something different, substitute scallops for sauteed mushrooms and onions. You can also substitute peas for broccoli and cook it the same way.

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