Quinoa is super clever! It produces its own pest deterrent in the form of saponins. Even your lovely fair-trade-organic-cruelty-free Quinoa is covered with this bitter and soapy tasting phytochemical. Some brands are courteous enough to pre-rinse the quinoa, but I just feel it’s not worth the risk. Always rinse your quinoa!
If you are new to juniper berries, you may want to use a conservative amount in this dish. They have a strong, piney flavor that is lovely, but might be a bit of a shock for people unaccustomed. My family enjoy the flavors of juniper, but they do NOT like the jolt of “tree” flavor when biting into the actual berries. You may choose to pluck them from the dish after they have been baked with the potatoes.
Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes, Juniper and Pomegranate
2 cups quinoa (black or red makes a visually pleasing dish)
4 cups vegetable broth
3 lbs sweet potato (about 4 cups peeled and cubed)
8 cloves garlic (minced)
1 red onion (diced)
1-2 Tbs dried Juniper berries (lightly crushed)
4 Tbs olive oil (or oil of your preference)
½ cup pomegranate jewels
Juice from 1 lemon (optional)
Salt and pepper