Quinoa with Butter, Almonds and Cranberries

Okay, so I am officially becoming my dad.

I am usually in bed before 9 p.m. I have a Japanese car (with light-colored seats!) that gets good gas mileage. I’m an over buyer, especially as to milk and paper towels. I use my blinker like a Driver’s-Ed instructor. I can’t stand loud restaurants. And my back hurts.

Oh, and I made quinoa this afternoon.

Yep, I’m definitely becoming my dad.

My Dad and My Brother Jim, circa 1980

My Dad and My Brother Jim, circa 1980

And I couldn’t be happier about it.

What’s that old saying about when you finally realize that your parents were right?

Oh yes: “By the time a man realizes that his father was right, he usually has a son who thinks he’s wrong.” – Charles Wadsworth

My children, Jack and Elle

My children, Jack and Elle

The timing is right, anyway.

Yes, at the ripe old age of 35, I now realize that I’d give anything to be half the parent to my kids that he has been to me. He’s kind, patient, generous, thoughtful, and wise. He also knows a lot about food, and healthy food in particular.

My Dad and Mom

My Dad and Mom

So this afternoon as I was cooking quinoa, I thought of him. And how I was so repulsed by that strange-smelling cereal (if you could, like seriously, call it that!) that he was eating for breakfast back in 1985.

Now I realize that my dad was just enjoying quinoa before quinoa was cool.


Have you tried quinoa? (I hope so. It is “The International Year of Quinoa,” after all.) It’s become hugely popular of late, and I can see why. It’s gluten-free and wheat-free and, despite being a grain, is a fantastic source of protein and a bunch of other vitamins and phytonutrients.


As it says on the box: “This important grain has ancient origins, dating back over five thousand years to the vast and mighty Inca civilization of South America. Quinoa was so important to the Inca culture, they referred to it as the Mother Grain.”

Which is apropos, right? Except I think “Father Grain” is even more fitting in my case.


Quinoa with Butter, Almonds and Cranberries

Serves 4-6

Although the quinoa in this recipe was definitely inspired by my dad, the almonds and cranberries are from a dish that my cousin, Beth, made the other night.  She whipped up a batch of pearl couscous to serve as a side dish, and then at the last minute, threw in some dried cranberries and blanched almonds.  Everyone at the table (kids included) couldn’t get enough.  Hopefully the same thing will happen at our house with this dish!


1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

1 tablespoon unsalted butter

1/2 cup blanched, slivered almonds

1/2 cup dried, sweetened cranberries

Salt, to taste


Place 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water in a medium saucepan.


Cover, and bring to boil over high heat.  Reduce heat to low; simmer until all water is absorbed, about 15 minutes. Remove lid and fluff with a spoon or fork.

The quinoa should be soft and translucent, and the germ ring will be visible along the outside edge of the grain.


Add butter, almonds, cranberries, and salt.

Stir.  Taste; add more salt if needed.

Transfer to a serving dish.  Serve immediately.


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