Monday, January 16, 2012

Don’t judge a book by its cover: Sunchoke, Quinoa & Pea Pilaf

Sunchokes, A.K.A. Jerusalem Artichokes

Don’t be afraid of their looks. Sunchokes, also known as Jerusalem artichokes are not something you see, let alone eat everyday, but when available are worth trying. These gnarly knobby nuggets aren’t found in grocery markets, (at least where I shop) but are sometimes found at farmer’s markets and in CSA shares. This tuber vegetable resembles fresh ginger root but tastes similar to a potato-artichoke-water chestnut hybrid.  It is quite obvious that they grow underground with soil stuck in every nook and crevice, requiring a good rinse. Just like potatoes, the skin is edible, but you may choose to peel. 

Sunchoke, Quinoa & Pea Pilaf
Why eat this admittedly unattractive vegetable you ask? One reason is sunchokes are a great source of vitamin C, potassium, phosphorus and iron. They are also a great source of natural inulin (not to be confused with insulin), a non-digestible carbohydrate helping to keep our digestive tracts healthy. Inulin is added to many foods including protein shake powders, yogurts and pastas, to help keep us feeling full longer, increase mineral absorption, and since it has a low glycemic index can keep blood sugars in check.

Still not convinced sunchokes are worth trying (or maybe you cant find them)? Substituting potatoes would also work well in this recipe.

Sunchoke, Quinoa & Pea Pilaf
2 Tablespoons oil
3/4 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup chopped onion (Yellow Wood Farms)
1 cup vegetable broth
1 can chickpeas (garbanzo beans), drained and rinsed
1 cup peeled, chopped sunchokes (Biver Farms)
1/2 cup peas, fresh or frozen
salt and pepper

Add quinoa and cook, until it pops, about 3 to 5 minutes. Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat.  Add onion and cook, stirring, until the onion is soft about 3 to 5 minutes more. Add vegetable broth and bring to a boil. Add in chickpeas, sunchokes, and peas, return to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer, covered, 20 minutes. Fluff with a fork. Season with salt and pepper to taste. 


  1. I will try to seek this root out and cook this recipe without the peas:)

  2. Thanks for the comment Donna. You are most likely to find these little gems at a farmers market. Happy hunting and let me know what you think if you end up trying.


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