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Maria Baez Kijac is a food writer, historian, and the author of The South American Table, which was named best Latin American cookbook by the Gourmand World Cookbook Awards and one of the 100 best cookbooks published in the last 25 years by Cooking Light. Kijac was the kitchen director for the PBS TV series America’s Family Kitchen, as well as a culinary teacher at Kendall College. Kijac has also served as a Judge for the Slow Foods Awards for the Defense of Biodiversity. She is a graduate of Northwestern University and the Dumas Pére School of French Cooking.

Rich in fiber and antioxidants, ancient grains like quinoa, chia, amaranth, and kañiwa are known for their nutritional value. In COOKING WITH ANCIENT GRAINS, readers will discover just how wholesome and tasty these grains are with 75 recipes by award-winning author Maria Baez Kijac. From breakfast and dinner to snacks and desserts, each delicious dish not only provides them with the nutrients and proteins they need, but will also keep them feeling full throughout the day. Best of all, cooks will never be trapped in the kitchen with dozens of easy-to-make recipes like:

• Quinoa and Amaranth Porridge with Dried Fruit
• Lebanese Lentil And Spinach Soup With Quinoa
• Kañiwa and Quinoa Salad with Grilled Veggies
• Amaranth, Red Lentil, and Chia Seed Patties
• Kañiwa With Roasted Tomatoes, Kale, and Tofu
• Coconut Chia Seed Pudding

Complete with step-by-step instructions and beautiful 4-color photographs, COOKING WITH ANCIENT GRAINS will help readers harness all of the goodness—in taste and health—that quinoa, amaranth, chia, and kañiwa have to offer.

Moroccan-Style Quinoa with Dried Fuits and Nuts

Yields 6 servings


The source of my inspiration for this recipe was The African and Middle Eastern Cookbook by Josephine Bacon and Jenni Fleetwood. This specialty is normally made with couscous, which is a staple throughout Algeria, Morocco, and Tunisia. I make this version of the dish with quinoa instead of couscous, and it is the perfect accompaniment to any kind of poultry or pork dish. In Morocco this dish is usually served as part of a celebration meal, as a course of its own. I often use it to stuff Cornish hens, and then bake the remaining quinoa mixture in a separate bowl.

1 cup raw quinoa, thoroughly rinsed
1 3/4 cups water
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon crumbled saffron threads
1 tablespoon canola oil
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
6 dried apricots cut into slivers
1/4 cup diced dried figs (any kind) or dried cranberries
1/4 cup golden seedless raisins
1/2 cup sliced blanched almonds
1/4 cup pistachio nuts
1 tablespoon superfine sugar, for garnish
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, for garnish

Preheat the oven to 350°F.

Place quinoa in a 2-quart saucepan, add water, and mix in salt and saffron threads. Bring to a boil over medium heat, cover, and simmer for 12 minutes or until quinoa has absorbed all the liquid. Remove from the heat, fluff with a fork, cover, and let rest for 5 minutes.

In a large skillet, heat canola oil and butter over medium heat. Add the apricots, figs, raisins, almonds, and pistachios; cook, stirring occasionally, until the raisins plump up, about 30–45 minutes, depending on how dry raisins are. Add to quinoa, mix well, and transfer to an ovenproof shallow baking dish. Note: If making ahead of time, cool, cover, and refrigerate until needed, then remove from refrigerator and bring to room temperature before moving on to the next step.

Bake in the middle of a preheated oven for 20 minutes or until heated through. Remove from heat, transfer to a serving dish, and pile quinoa into a cone-shaped mound. Mix sugar and cinnamon together and sprinkle in stripes down the mound.

Background Information: Combining sweet and savory flavors in one dish is common in Arab cuisine. Famous, savory Moroccan dishes, such as bastilla, a pigeon or chicken pie, are sprinkled with cinnamon and sugar. Adding fruit and nuts to meats or grains are also classic elements in Moroccan cooking.


Bell Peppers Stuffed with Amaranth/Quinoa and Turkey

Yields 4 servings



When it comes to stuffed vegetables, bell peppers are a crowd pleaser because they lend themselves to a wide variety of fillings and flavors. They can be served with or without a sauce, and the stuffing can be made vegetarian by omitting the turkey and adding some pine nuts and raisins. This recipe is my own creation, though it is anchored in tradition. Instead of the more common rice filling, I have used amaranth. Rarely will you find a dish that is so rich in all the essential vitamins for good health, especially vitamins C and A, the B vitamins, plus iron. 

4 medium bell peppers, green, red, or orange
8 cups water
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped (about ½ cup)
2 cloves garlic, minced, or ½ teaspoon granulated garlic
8 ounces ground turkey (or chicken), preferably organic
1/2 teaspoon sweet paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried red pepper flakes, or to taste
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/4 teaspoon ground allspice
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
1 1.2 cups Basic Boiled Amaranth or Basic Boiled Quinoa
1/2 cup cooked peas
1/4 cup lightly toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup finely chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 large egg, lightly beaten
2 cups canned tomato sauce, divided
1/4 cup grated Parmesan or manchego cheese (optional)

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Lightly grease a 9 x 5-inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the rice flour, sorghum flour, cornstarch, potato starch, xanthan gum, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, and nutmeg. Set aside.

In the bowl of a food processor fitted with the knife blade, place the two sugars and the butter. Pulse until the mixture is crumbly, about 30 seconds. Add the bananas and vanilla, and pulse to combine. Add the eggs. Pulse until smooth.

Add the dry ingredients and pulse for about 30 seconds, or until the mixture is thick and smooth.

Transfer to the prepared loaf pan. Set in the middle of the preheated oven and bake for 45 to 50 minutes. Remove from the oven, allow to set in the pan for 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.

Wrapped in plastic wrap, this freezes well and will keep for 3 to 6 months.


These recipes may be reproduced with the following credit:

Recipes from Cooking with Ancient Grains: 75 Delicious Recipes for Quinoa, Amaranth, Chia, and Kaniwa by Maria Kijac. (Adams Media; September 2014; $19.99/Trade Paperback; ISBN-13; 978-1440579561). http://www.adamsmediastore.com/

Contact: Melinda Mullin