Makes 4 to 6 servings or 3½ to 4 cups

Much less fat is called for in this pilaf recipe than others that call for up to 1/4 cup oil or butter per cup of grain.

1/2 teaspoon olive oil or olive-walnut high heat blend (Spectrum walnut oil)
2 shallots, minced or pressed
1 large clove garlic, minced or pressed
2 cups mushrooms (organic white or shiitake), 5 mushrooms or 4 ounces, stems discarded, caps diced small
1/2 teaspoon unrefined sea salt
1 cup quinoa
1½ cups water
1 teaspoon cumin powder
1-inch piece kombu seaweed
1 bay leaf
Parsley leaves for garnish
1 carrot, thinly sliced, boiled 5 minutes, and cut with hors d’oeuvre cutters for garnish (optional)

1. In a 3quart sauté pan, heat the oil with 2 tablespoons water. Add the shallots, garlic, mushrooms and salt. Stir, cover and cook over medium heat for 2 to 3 minutes.

2. In a bowl, generously cover grains with cool water. Swish them with your hand to release any dirt. Drain.

3. Add to sauté pan water, cumin, kombu and bay leaf and bring to boil, then add the quinoa. Slow-boil until liquid is absorbed and grains are light and fluffy, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a serving bowl by fluffing with a fork. Toss in pine nuts as you go.

4. To serve, pack a 1/2-cup stainless measuring cup once or twice with pilaf and tap to unmold the mound(s). Garnish with a fresh green leaf and a carrot cutout (optional).

 Variations:

 Multi-Grain Pilaf:
Combine quinoa with equal parts bulgur or long grain brown rice (1 part grains to 1½ parts water) or millet (1 part grains to 2½ parts water). Cook until tender, 20, 45 or 30 minutes respectively.

Substitute a small leek for shallots. Add freshly-shucked corn, peas, 8 sliced black olives, or minced lemon zest. Substitute pistachio nuts for pine nuts.

For 6 servings, per serving:
Calories: 193    Protein: 6gm    Saturated Fat: 0.5gm    Fiber: 3gm    Carbohydrates: 35gm    Fat: 5gm   Cholesterol: 0    Sodium: 135mg    Calories from Protein: 12%     Calories from Fats: 17%     Calories from Carbohydrates: 71%