This is a main course dish that could help to balance the pH level of the body. Even the polenta is considered to be a neutral pH component to this meal. Keeping the pH level balanced helps provide immunity against disease.
Some grains and pseudo-grains are moderately acidic but not quinoa! This small powerhouse can help keep our blood pH levels slightly alkaline – exactly where they need to be. When pH levels drop slightly towards acidic the body is extremely vulnerable to disease and it does not heal well. In an acidic state we are more prone to deal with stress negatively, and find it difficult to maintain a healthy weight. If the pH levels are in balance the body can absorb vitamins and other nutrients in food much easier, illnesses are avoided, stress is managed well and one tends to have a positive outlook on life. In general, eating a diet heavy with refined grains, sugar, meat, eggs and dairy makes the pH of the body very acidic, while eating a whole-foods, plant based diet will keep pH levels perfectly balanced. Another wonderful component of quinoa is that it is made up of over 16% protein, and provides all the essential amino acids needed by the body. Also, its carbohydrates are slow releasing so it satisfies hunger for a long time. Quinoa is thought to help improve the quality of milk mothers produce while breast feeding due to its extremely high nutrient content. Not only is quinoa rich in vitamins and minerals it possesses antioxidants and fiber, all of which make it a nutrient dense and tasty superfood.
The mushrooms in the gravy possess potent anti-cancer properties, and specific studies suggest they can help prevent breast cancer. These antioxidants in mushrooms are so powerful that they are not depleted during cooking. They also may help prevent Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive disorders because they are rich in niacin. Mushrooms help to build the immune system and prevent disease due to their mineral density.
QUINOA POLENTA WITH TRUFFLE AND MUSHROOM GRAVY
For the polenta:
6 cups vegetable broth
1/3 cup red quinoa
1/2 cup finely chopped leeks
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 t Himalayan sea salt*
1 1/2 cups instant polenta
3 T fresh thyme leaves
1/3 cup nutritional yeast
1 t freshly ground black pepper
1 T white truffle oil
Preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 10″x 15″ baking pan. Heat vegetable broth, quinoa, leeks, garlic and Himalayan sea salt in a 4 quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Boil 1 minute. Reduce heat to low and whisk while slowly adding the polenta. Continue whisking regularly for about 8 minutes. Combine the remaining dry ingredients and to the polenta mixture. Remove from heat and gently stir in the white truffle oil. Spread into the prepared baking pan and bake 8 minutes. Remove from the oven and allow to cool. Cut into squares and cut each square in half on the diagonal to make triangles. These can be made to this point a day in advance of serving. Lay the polenta triangles on a cookie sheet and broil about 8 minutes to brown. Serve with Truffle and Mushroom Gravy and garnish with green onions.
For the truffle and mushroom gravy:
1 cup chopped onions
1 T olive oil
3/4 cup chardonnay white wine (one mini bottle)
1 lb. mixed wild mushrooms, sliced (shiitake, oyster, crimini)
2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1/2 t dried sage
1/2 t celery seed
1/2 t Himalayan sea salt*
1 t vegetarian no chicken base (Better than Bullion)
1T white truffle oil
2 green onions, chopped, for garnish
In a large skillet, saute onions in olive oil until translucent and beginning to caramel. Add white wine and briefly simmer. Add the mushrooms and saute about 5 minutes until softened. Combine the vegetable broth with the whole wheat pastry flour and whisk to blend well. Add the broth mixture along with the sage, celery seed, vegetarian chicken base and Himalayan sea salt to the skillet stirring constantly while it thickens and coats the mushrooms. Remove from heat stir in the white truffle oil and layer over the polenta. Sprinkle with the green onions to serve.
©Janice Moreland http://thekitchentwist.com