I’m not sure how I found out about quinoa (pronounced keen-wa) and started seeking out quinoa recipes but I’m so glad I did! It’s something that is so delicious and so easy to make, it’s now a permanent staple in my pantry.
I decided to spend some time this weekend cooking up a batch of this versatile grain. In case you are not familiar with quinoa, let me tell you a little bit about it. It’s something your probably going to want to start keeping on hand because there are so many things you can do with it!
What is Quinoa?
According to About.com, quinoa is usually considered a whole grain but it’s actually a seed. It looks like a small round pellet and comes in red or light tan colors. I’ve only seen & cooked with the light tan colored quinoa. It’s actually quite simple to prepare & is a great substitute if you are sick of cooking with rice. Some other features of quinoa include:
- It takes less time to cook than other whole grains – just 10 to 15 minutes.
- Quinoa tastes great on its own, unlike other grains such as millet or teff. Add a bit of olive oil, sea salt and lemon juice and – yum!
- Of all the whole grains, quinoa has the highest protein content, so it’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free whole grain, and is almost always organic.
How Do I Cook Quinoa?
By far one of the best sites I’ve found for quinoa recipes is Cooking Quinoa. The recipes are so creative and I’m actually quite shocked at all the ways you can use quinoa! If you are looking for basic steps for cooking quinoa, follow these steps. Once you have your plain quinoa cooked, you can add it to soups, stir fry or salad to get the extra protein that will help you fill fuller longer.
Instead of posting one recipe this week, I’m going to link to several recipes to show you how quinoa can be used and how versatile it is. Here are some quinoa recipes to try:
- Quinoa & Black Bean Burritos
- Quinoa & Black Bean Lettuce Wraps
- Cheesy Quinoa Pilaf with Spinach
- Quinoa Pizza Crust (I can’t wait to try this one!)
- Quinoa Tabbouleh
- Quinoa with Chickpeas & Tomatoes
- Quinoa Protein Bars
- Quinoa Chili
- Quinoa Vegetable Soup – You could omit the meat in this recipe and add 1/2 – 1 cup of cooked quinoa at the end
As I mentioned earlier, quinoa is a great replacement or a substitute for rice in most any dish. You can cook quinoa ahead of time and store it in the refrigerator for the week and eat it plain or add it to what you are eating that week. If you want to cook up bigger batches of quinoa, it will freeze well too.
One note about quinoa, it tends to bulk up pretty quickly. If you plan to add it to soup, I would cook the quinoa ahead of time separately and then add it to the soup at the end. I put 1 cup in with vegetable soup I was making in the crock pot and it became too thick and very “un-soup like”.
Have you ever cooked quinoa? If so, what is your favorite quinoa recipe? Feel free to share it in the comments below! While your here, don’t forget to sign up for my newsletter and get my Single Girls 7 Day Budget Guide!