recipes

Delicious Quinoa Combos

Have you meet my friend Quinoa?

“Key no WHO?” If that’s your response then I take it you have not.

Quinoa – sounds like “KEEN-wah” – is part of the whole grains family but it’s actually a seed. I’ve mentioned it here. Think couscous, but with a nuttier flavor. When you cook it, the little seeds pop and they look like tiny spirals. Can you tell in the pic? It’s a nice change of pace from the standard brown rice. Plus it’s crazy good for you. It’s very high in protein (about 16%) and is one of the few vegetarian sources that’s considered a complete protein. It has all eight essential amino acids. And a serving has more calcium than a glass of milk. Talk about a match made in heaven for vegetarians. Did I mention it’s gluten free too? I haven’t even gotten to all the vitamins and fiber and folic acid in there. The stuff practically has super powers. So where did this grain come from and why are you just now in the year 2010 hearing about it?! Quinoa was the staple grain of the Incas. It’s what gave them the strength and stamina to run long distances across the desert. So they praised it and the land it came from. That little tid bit along with their and bloody sacrifices freaked out the conquistadors. People shouldn’t worship a seed they said. So quinoa was forbidden and cast into obscurity. If they’d only realized the health benefits and that it cooks in just 15 minutes! That’s my absolute favorite part. Just rise it, put it in a pot with the right amount of water, let it simmer and DONE! Eat it by itself or try one of these delicious combos… Don’t be afraid to mix it up and try your own. Have fun!

For each of these recipes, start with four cups cooked quinoa.

Quinoa

(makes 4 cups cooked quinoa)

What you need:

1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cup water
salt

What you do:

Rinse* the quinoa in a fine strainer. Combine quinoa and water in a sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer 15 minutes until all the water is absorbed. Fluff with a fork when done.

Now your ready to make it unique. Try one of these…

Quinoa with Cranberries, Almonds & Parsley

What you need:

4 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 cup cranberries
1/4 sliced almonds
2 tbsp chopped parsley

What you do:

Mix the cranberries, almonds, parsley  into the quinoa. Combine well and chill in fridge.

Quinoa with Spinach and Feta

What you need:

1 tbsp olive oil
1 cup quinoa
1 3/4 cups water
3 cloves garlic
2 cups fresh spinach
2 oz. feta cheese

What you do:

Heat oil in a pan over medium heat. Addd garlic and cook 1-2 minutes until it’s lightly browning. Add quinoa and spinach. stir to combine and cook until spinach wilts. Remove from heat. Add feta and stir to combine evenly.

Tomato Basil Quinoa

What you need:

1 medium tomato, chopped OR  a handful of cherry tomatoes, halved
2 tbsp basil, chopped
2 tbsp parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste
1 tsp. balsamic vinegar

What you do:

Combine quinoa with tomatoes, basil, parsley and seasoning. Add balsamic vinegar just before serving.

*Rinsing removes the bitter tasting outside coating called saponin. Saponin is naturally occurring, but it’s toxic so it needs to be removed before cooking. If you buy grains in bulk you should always rinse them to remove any dust, dirt and whatever else may have found its way into those silos.

Megan Adams Brown, CHC, is a certified health coach for the whole family. She helps busy women get their energy back and makes meal planning and cooking easy. Her family meal planning tools and healthy kid-friendly recipes will help you spend less time cooking while enjoying the most nutritious foods that are delicious too. Click “Programs” to learn more.

7 thoughts on “Delicious Quinoa Combos”

  1. I am so glad you posted these recipes. I bought this stuff a while back and had no clue what I should do with it!

  2. I’ve always been told to toast the quinoa after rinsing and before boiling, that also helps get rid of any bitter taste the grain can have.

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