Quinoa was once known as the "gold of the Incas". It's pretty well established that this nutty "grain" is good for us. It's full of protein — complete protein at that. Quinoa has all nine essential amino acids, making it an ideal ingredient for vegetarians and vegans. It's been known to help with chronic migraines and even some cardiovascular issues. It also has a low gluten content, which is good for a lot of allergies that are becoming more and more common. Most people think that it's a grain, but actually quinoa is the seed of a plant that is related to beets, chard, and spinach. Its texture is fluffy when cooked, but still crunchy, in a uniquely satisfying way. Cook yours according to the directions on the package, but don't forget to rinse! Quinoa can be bitter if not rinsed. If you buy it in bulk, boil 2 parts water and add 1 part rinsed quinoa. Cook it until fluffy, soft, translucent, and the white spiral germ has detached from each seed.
Cook up a big batch of quinoa early in the week, store in a sealed container and enjoy it for days to come. Here are some tasty ways to enjoy this wonder ingredient!
Quinoa Salad: Toss 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa into your favorite green salad combination. We threw together some Lacinto kale, a romaine heart, green onions, and half an avocado. We dressed the salad with a simple whole grain mustard vinaigrette (smashed garlic, olive oil, vinegar, whole grain mustard, salt, and pepper). This serves 1 — 2 people, depending on how hungry you are!
Quinoa Sauté: A simple sauté of whatever veggies you have lying around, your favorite spices, and 1 cup of quinoa makes a delicious dinner. We cooked together onions, garlic, sweet potatoes, tomatoes, black beans, and mushrooms in a little bit of olive oil with chili powder, cumin, paprika, and salt. Once everything was cooked down, we threw in the quinoa for a quick warm up. This is especially good with hot sauce! If you want to take things a step farther, try stuffing this mixture into poblano peppers, topping with cheese, and baking together for 40 minutes (here is an easy and delicious recipe to follow!).
Quinoa Breakfast Bowl: At first I thought this combination might be a little weird. But it makes sense...loading up with protein in the morning, and it's actually really satisfying and delicious. Try enjoying 1/2 cup of quinoa with your favorite berries. Then pour some almond milk over this combination and sprinkle a bit of brown sugar. Dig in!
How do you enjoy quinoa?