Recipe Corner: Caraway-Flecked Quinoa with Purple Potatoes

by Lorna Sass

There once was a time when eating potatoes meant fried, baked, or boiled. Since few people made fries at home, we all contently kept on baking potatoes that we kept stocked in the kitchens and the more adventurous among us kept a stash of new potatoes for boiling.

Then along came Yukon Golds, a somewhat waxy all-purpose potato which seemed to catch on like wild fire—a pleasant potato, for sure, but like most things that are middle-of-the-road, not the kind of potatoes you fall madly in love with.

These days, on a trip to the big Union Square market in New York City, I'm faced with a mind-boggling array of choices, from Ruby Crescents to Delta Blues. I quickly became enchanted with long, knobby fingerlings, enjoying their earthy flavor and mild waxiness. I always chose them when I wanted to roast potatoes until I discovered purple potatoes.

Aside from being gorgeous to behold, purple potatoes have an intense earthy flavor and hold their shape well after cooking—making them an excellent choice for room temperature salads as well as pilaf-style dishes. They are also absolutely delicious roasted on their own, with just a drizzle of olive oil and a sprinkle of coarse salt.

As you'll see in the recipe below, I don't habitually peel potatoes before cooking. I love the additional texture and flavor the peels provide, and the extra fiber and nutrients are yet another bonus.

Caraway-Flecked Quinoa with Purple Potatoes

Serves 4 to 6

  • 1/2 pound purple potatoes or fingerlings, scrubbed and trimmed (no need to peel)
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 medium red onion, finely chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 teaspoon caraway seeds
  • 1 3/4 cups vegetable broth or water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt, or to taste

Cut the potatoes into matchsticks about 1-inch long and 1/4-inch thick.

In a heavy, 3-quart saucepan, heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add the onions, garlic, and caraway seeds. Cook, stirring frequently, until the onions are limp and begin to brown, 3 to 5 minutes.

Add the broth and salt (use less if broth is salted), and bring to a boil. Stir in the quinoa and potatoes. Cover and reduce the heat to medium. Cook until the potatoes are tender and the quinoa is translucent, 13 to 15 minutes. Stir in the remaining tablespoon of olive oil and more salt, if needed. Serve warm or at room temperature.

Recipe copyright, Lorna Sass, 2008

Lorna Sass is a widely published food writer and an award-winning cookbook author. Her Whole Grains Every Day, Every Way cookbook won the 2007 James Beard Foundation award for the best cookbook in the Healthy Focus category. Visit her listing on our website.

Back to the September 2008 Newsletter