Photo from Wikipedia.
Quinoa is one of my favorite foods to use. It is a seed similar to a grain, and it contains a complete protein, making it a great meat replacement. You can easily substitute it for rice or other cooked grains, or you can find a recipe that features quinoa.
Where to get quinoa
I have seen quinoa in boxes at regular grocery stores. While perfectly acceptable, it is expensive! If you have a natural foods store nearby, check out the bulk bins. It's much cheaper there.
How to cook quinoa
You will need a fine-mesh strainer (if you don't have one, a normal strainer lined with cheesecloth will do). Before you cook the quinoa, you will need to rinse it, as it has a bitter coating.
Rinse your quinoa well and put in a pot with twice as much water as you have quinoa. Alternatively, you can put it into a pot of boiling water and strain it when you are done. Add a bit of salt if you like.
Boil for about 15 minutes, until tender but not mushy. If there is extra water, drain it.
How to use quinoa
Quinoa is a complete protein. I would suggest against serving it as a side dish; it will fill you right up. Whatever you do, don't serve it with meat! Quinoa is one of those foods that if I eat too much of it, I won't be hungry for hours. I usually serve a quinoa dish with plenty of fruits and vegetables and a glass of milk.
My very favorite quinoa recipe is Lemon-Scented Quinoa Salad. (Due to a tahini recall, I am currently having withdrawals from this recipe. I hope tahini will be back soon!) Another recipe I have enjoyed is Quinoa Pilaf with Apples and Pecans.
Here are some other quinoa recipes that I want to try:
- Delicious Big Quinoa Bowl
- Warm and Nutty Cinnamon Quinoa
- Autumn Millet Bake (using quinoa in place of millet)
- Quinoa Vegetable Soup (I make a recipe similar to this, but without the bell pepper)
- Quinoa Tabbouleh
Have you ever used quinoa? Do you like it? What do you do with it?