Quinoa – a food that Brittny, my receptionist, would flatly refuse to eat if I brought it to our next pot-luck. Although quinoa sounds exotic, it’s remarkably tasty, versatile, and simple to prepare.
Quinoa has 14 grams of protein and 7 grams of fiber per serving – impressive, right?
Quinoa comes in white, red, and black varieties. It has a mild, nutty flavor. You can substitute it easily for rice, couscous, or bulghur in recipes. I make a big batch of it and eat it all week. Here’s how to make it and stir in delicious additions for breakfast, lunch, or dinner.
Basic Quinoa Ingredients:
Basic ingredients (this will make about 4 1/2 cups of cooked quinoa, so adjust up or down as you like. Just use a 2:1 ratio of liquid to quinoa):
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa
- 3 cups liquid (water or broth)
- You have to rinse quinoa, or it will be a little bitter. I pour the dry quinoa into a mesh strainer and run water over it for a full minute.
- Place the rinsed quinoa into a saucepan with a lid. Add 3 cups liquid. If I’m making this for breakfast, I use water. If it’s for dinner, I use chicken broth.
- Bring to a boil, cover, and simmer on low heat for 15-20 minutes. I told you it was easy!
For breakfast, add some or all of the following to a cup of prepared quinoa. Serve hot, like oatmeal:
- Sliced fruit: bananas, apples, or berries
- Shredded coconut
- Honey or agave nectar
- Maple syrup
- Dried fruit – cranberries, cherries, apricots, raisins
For lunch, try adding this to a cup of quinoa. It packs in plasticware easily, and is delicious at room temperature:
- A few tablespoons of crumbly cheese, like feta or gorgonzola
- A tablespoon of chopped basil
- 1/4 cup jarred sun-dried tomatoes, or some chopped red bell peppers or peppadew peppers (my favorite!)
- Pinch of salt
- My husband thinks everything is better with meat – try some chopped salami, ham, or turkey
For a family dinner, quinoa can be a great main dish or side dish. Here is a dinner using all 1 1/2 cups of quinoa:
- 2 cooked chicken breasts, shredded or chopped (or use the meat from a rotisserie chicken)
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
- 1 heaping teaspoon curry powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 2 carrots, peeled and grated or finely diced
- 1/4 cup sliced almonds
- 2-3 chopped green onions (or chopped red onion)
- 1/4 cup chopped Italian parsley
- 1/2 cup dried fruit – I like cranberries
To prepare, stir together all the above ingredients in a medium bowl. Pour over quinoa and toss to combine. Serve warm or at room temperature.