Spiced Dried Fruit Quinoa (Vegan, Gluten Free)

It has been quite some time since I got a chance to sit down and write a post. Passover has taken a good chunk of my time, between cooking and cleaning. 
For many Jews around the world, Passover is a tough holiday because it’s eight days with out eating any leavened bread, and for Ashkenazi Jews this has extended to almost anything leavened- like beans and rice also known as kitniyot. The custom is for Jews to follow their culinary heritage and traditions. So for the Ashkenazi Jews, kitniyot were not part of the culinary practice in Eastern Europe. I, on the other hand am a Sephardi Jew who eats rice and beans during Passover, because this were staple ingredients along most of the Silk Road. Now, where it gets a bit sticky is with my husband who is of Eastern European descent and was not accustomed to rice and beans on Passover. As a fair compromise to him, I made this Spiced Dried Fruit Quinoa, since it is one of the permissible foods to eat during Passover.
It was very important for me to celebrate my heritage as a Sephardi Jew, but also respect my husbands’ traditions. Along the Silk Road, dried fruits are regularly used to catapult an ordinary dish to a festive dish. Since Passover is a holiday commemorating the Jews release from slavery, it calls for a celebratory dish. This quinoa dish was a fair compromise for us both. The quinoa is adorned with dried apricots and dates enhancing the aromatic flavors of the cinnamon, cardamom and ginger. The result is a warm and slightly sweet flavor almost sweet enough for a dessert, but I suggest it served with a curried vegetable dish. With this dish you are transported with flavors from around the world into your home. This recipe has been adapted from Martha Stewarts, Cinnamon Scented Couscous.

1/3 cup almonds, slivered

3 cups water

2/3 cup dates, diced

1/3 cup  dried apricots, chopped

1 teaspoon ground cardamom

½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

¼ teaspoon ground ginger

Salt to taste

1 tablespoon vegetable oil

1 ½ cups quinoa

Serves 6

      1      Preheat over to 350°F
      2      Toast almonds in baking sheet for 10 minutes, stirring once.
      3      Combine water, dates, apricots, cardamom, cinnamon, ginger, salt, oil  and quinoa in a medium saucepan under a medium high flame.
      4      Bring to a boil, cover and simmer for 25 minutes or until all water is absorbed.
      5      Stir in almonds and serve.

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