Featuring seasonings that are reminiscent of Jamaica, this spicy Jamaican Jerk Quinoa can be eaten as a side dish or as a fully-loaded quinoa veggie “bowl” for a meal in and of itself.
I love quinoa because it cooks quickly and has an interesting flavor and unique texture. In the same time it takes to make rice, you can make quinoa. It’s also great to have another grain/seed in your repertoire, not only for nutritional diversity but also for avoiding rice redundancy. A gluten-free and high-protein food source, quinoa is an invaluable pantry item to keep on hand.
I love the flavors in Jamaican jerk seasoning. Most recipes start with a base of allspice, garlic, scallions, chiles, and thyme and other seasonings are added to those. I like to add a bit of nutmeg, clove, and ginger to deliver that delicious kick that makes Jamaican cuisine so unique in the Caribbean. Make it as spicy as you like by removing the seeds and ribs from the chiles, but do keep some in for that fiery Jamaican taste.
- 1 Tablespoon coconut oil or olive oil
- 4 scallions, chopped
- ½ of a scotch bonnet pepper (habañero, serrano, or jalapeño are all good, too)
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 teaspoon minced ginger
- ¼ teaspoon allspice
- ¼ teaspoon nutmeg
- ¼ teaspoon ground black pepper
- pinch of ground clove
- ½ teaspoon paprika
- pinch of smoked paprika (optional, for a smoky taste)
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme or 1½ Tablespoons fresh
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 1 teaspoon sea salt, or more to taste
- 2 cups water
- Sauté the scallions, chiles, garlic, and ginger in the coconut oil in a small pot for 1 minute. Add the allspice, nutmeg, black pepper, clove, paprika, and thyme and sauté for 10 more seconds.
- Add the rinsed quinoa, salt, and hot water and bring it to a boil over high heat. Let it boil for 5 minutes uncovered, then reduce heat to very low, cover tightly and cook for 22 minutes.
- After 22 minutes, remove the cover and fluff the quinoa with a spatula. Leave the cover off and let it sit for 5 minutes to achieve the right texture. Garnish with more chopped scallion and serve.
-This recipe makes about 4 cups of cooked quinoa.