What: Pronounced “KEEN-wah” this South American, gluten-free, grain-like seed is related (according to Wikipedia) to beets, and spinach. It is touted for it’s higher protein content (than grains), and is also high in iron and magnesium. It comes whole (dried), flour, and flakes (like for porridge/hot cereal).
When: I use it to replace couscous and other grains in side dishes and cold salads. In fact there are thousands of great quinoa recipes out there today. We usually make the same 3 quinoa recipes over and over, but here are a few I’ve found online that I’d like to try out:
This quinoa salad with spicy peanut dressing looks really good. I like how it’s a fusion of South American quinoa with a Asian inspired dressing. Replace the soy sauce with fish sauce and get UNseasoned rice vinegar.
This lemon scented quinoa salad from 101 cookbooks looks very spring-like, light with a tang of red onion and lemon.
Here is Martha Stewarts version of quinoa tabbouleh (traditionally tabbouleh is made with bulger wheat). I would use roasted red peppers for tomatoes since tomatoes don’t agree with me (a lot).
These quick, and usually cold salads are great in the summer as lunches or sides to almost any meal or menu. In colder weather quinoa flour and flakes can be used to make hot dishes- from baked goods to hot porridge on cold mornings (see “more” below).
How To: I cook quinoa in a 1:2 ratio with water (2 parts water for ever 1 part quinoa), in a saucepan on the stove. Bring to a boil, reduce to a lively simmer and it’s done when the water has evaporated. You can see the difference between the uncooked and cooked seeds below:
More: If you just can’t get enough there are more and more baking recipes using quinoa- both whole seed and the flour (look online or health stores and organic markets)- on the internet and cookbooks.
Note: Some people with sensitive guts or diverticulitis have trouble digesting quinoa, and you should consult with your nutritionist, dietitian, or doctor before trying if that is the case. We strongly recommend trying all new foods in moderation.