Friday, February 10, 2012

Quinoa Two Ways

If you've never tried quinoa, I'm setting you up with two ways to enjoy this amazing little grain.  I started eating quinoa when I cut down on the meat in my diet because it is a source of complete protein.  It's gluten free as well for those of you who avoid wheat.  You can also toss it around with just about anything to make a lighter meal.

Quinoa Veggie Salad (cold)

  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 red bell pepper
  • 8-10 cherry tomatoes
  • 1/2 of a small red onion
  • 1 cucumber
  • 1 carrot
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 T olive oil
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a small pot.  When boiling, reduce heat to a simmer and cover for 10-12 minutes or when water is fully absorbed.  Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and let sit for 5 minutes.  Transfer quinoa to a covered container and cool in fridge.

Meanwhile, chop all veggies into small pieces.  Whisk together salt, pepper, lemon juice, and olive oil to make a light dressing.  When quinoa is cool, add veggies, dressing, and parsley (for a tabouleh type taste) and mix together.  

This is usually how I prepare quinoa in the warmer summer and fall months when those types of veggies are in season.  The mix will last for about 5 days in the fridge, so it's also a great thing to make ahead of time and pack for lunch during the week.  For a different take on this dish you could also roast a mix of veggies (potatoes, beets, carrots, broccoli, squash, etc...),  add them to the quinoa, and serve hot.   

Quinoa and Mixed Greens (hot)
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 1 T coconut oil
  • Mixed cooking greens (chard, spinach, collard greens, kale) about three big fistfuls.  
  • salt and pepper to taste
Toss quinoa, water, greens, and melted coconut oil into a large pot.  Stir together, COVER, bring mixture to a boil, then let simmer for 10-12 minutes COVERED until all water is absorbed.  Add salt and pepper to taste and stir.  The key to this is keeping the pot covered at all times to let the greens wilt into the quinoa.  The greens and quinoa take only ten minutes to go from this:

To this:

This goes well with just about anything on the side and the coconut oil gives it a great flavor.  I inhaled this every day for lunch this week.   

I use either Arrowhead Mills Quinoa or Bob's Red Mill Quinoa:

But I've also just invested in a tricolor quinoa mix from Trader Joe's (because it's pretty) and a Seeds of Change quinoa/brown rice mix (because I felt like it):

Notice that word "organic" on every single one of these packages?  I am not a proponent of buying anything and everything organic, but certain foods like quinoa, which can absorb harmful sprays and pesticides, should be.  

I've known lots of people to do some creative stuff with this little powerhouse of a grain, putting it into breakfasts and baked goods as well as the recipes I've created above.  

By the way...thank you to Eric R, Ina, Caity, Becca, and Jackie for letting me know you like what you've been reading so far!  It means a lot to know that my classmates are reading the blog!

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