What goes into making an aphrodisiac quinoa dish?
I wanted to create a simple yet aphrodisiac side dish to balance the bold flavors of marinated and grilled or roasted meats (or vegetables). Quinoa is everywhere but I find that it is either presented simply in its naked form or dressed up with so many ingredients and flavors that it’s unrecognizable. I thought a Meyer lemon quinoa would make a fresh and lovely foil to a heavier meat dish, especially one flavored with the char of the grill.
I use Meyer lemon to give my quinoa an acidic spark without taking away from the quinoa’s natural, faintly earthy, nutty flavor. (You can use a regular lemon. The final dish will have a little more bite and less sweetness than it does with the Meyer lemon but the difference is negligible.)
The benefits of turmeric
Now, how to make my Meyer lemon quinoa more aphrodisiac? I turned to turmeric. Turmeric is known for its anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties. They support heart health and good blood flow. (And blood flow isn’t just important to your heart, it’s also key for sexual satisfaction.) Turmeric is also noted for supporting brain function and nothing beats a creative lover! There’s just one problem with turmeric. As Delahna Flagg taught me, the main active ingredient in turmeric, curcumin, isn’t readily absorbed by our bodies. But if you consume curcumin with black pepper, absorption increases by 2000%. Good thing we have Delahna as Eat Something Sexy’s nutrition director!) So into my quinoa went the black pepper. (I actually love the heat the black pepper brings to this otherwise mild dish.)
Lastly, I felt it needed something herbal to round out the sour of the lemon, spice of the pepper and earthy notes of turmeric and quinoa. So I tossed in a fresh note with shredded basil leaves–also aphrodisiac. The result is an intriguing yet simple take on a quinoa salad.
Meyer Lemon Quinoa with Turmeric, Black Pepper and Basil
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 2 tsp ground turmeric
- 1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
- 1 tsp Meyer lemon zest (*sub. regular lemon)
- 1 tbsp Meyer lemon juice
- 5-6 leaves Italian basil
- salt to taste
- Combine quinoa, water and turmeric in a medium saucepan. Bring water to a boil, stir, then turn down to a simmer.
- Simmer for 10-15 minutes, until quinoa is soft and water is absorbed.
- Transfer quinoa to a medium mixing bowl or serving bowl. Allow it to cool for 10-15 minutes.
- While the quinoa is cooling, chiffonade the basil by stacking the leaves and rolling lengthwise. Then thinly slice the leaves into ribbons.
- When the quinoa is cool enough to touch, fold in the black pepper, lemon zest, lemon juice and basil leaves and season with salt and pepper to taste.
- Serve warm.
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