They may look like ginger root, but, no, they are sunchokes! For those of you who have never heard of sunchokes before, you are not alone; they are new to me too! Sunchokes are the root of sunflowers and are also known as jerusalem artichokes. Their peak season is October to February. They are less starchy than potatoes and are loaded full of iron and potassium.
Imagine my excitement when last weekend I found sunchokes at the farmer's market! I immediately purchased a couple and added them to my menu for the week. Although Rachael had some interesting recipes in her magazine, I did some internet searching to see if there was anything else that jumped out at me. I came across a quinoa pilaf that contained sunchokes and I knew I had a winner. I changed a number of things around, added a little bit of garlic for extra flavor, removed the chickpeas and replaced the peas with edamame. Between the sunchokes, edamame and quinoa, I would say this is quite a nutritious and delicious meal. The sunchokes reminded me of softer water chestnuts with a sweeter flavor. I also used a combination of red and white quinoa because I had them both and they added a little extra color pop. :)
Try out sunchokes! They get my full endorsement.
Any vegetables or fruit you'd like to see me try and report back? Any unique seasonal vegetables that you love?
Sunchoke, Edamame and Quinoa Pilaf (adapted from about.com)
1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1/2 cup quinoa (I used a combination of white and red quinoa)
1 small onion, diced
1 garlic clove, minced
1 1/4 cup vegetable broth (low sodium store bought or homemade like corn broth)
3/4 cup scrubbed clean and chopped sunchokes
1 cup frozen edamame
salt and pepper, to taste
Rinse quinoa thoroughly until cold water.
Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa and cook, stirring frequently, until it crackles, about 3-4 minutes. Add the onion and garlic and cook until softened, about 3-4 minutes. Add the vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add the sunchokes and edamame and bring back to a boil. Season with salt and pepper. Reduce the heat to low, cover and simmer for 20 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is cooked completely. Fluff.
Serves 2-3 as a main dish or 5-6 as a side side.