What’s the Deal with Quinoa?

3 Feb

by Green Gourmet L

Photo from Wikipedia

I think most of us have heard about quinoa (keen- wah) at some point. About 5 (or more) years ago it became a hit at many top restaurants for it’s gluten free-ness and it’s high protein and fiber content.  Now that I eat mostly vegetarian, I was a bit concerned about getting enough protein, so I was glad to come across this super grain. Not to mention, it’s cheap! You cook it like rice, although the portion is 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups liquid. I use veggie stock to give it a little more flavor, but water is fine too.  When it’s cooked, it looks like this:

Did you know that quinoa is a seed that comes from a flowering plant that looks like this:

 

Although not commercially available, you can also eat the greens from this plant. That just blew my mind!

I tried to make quinoa for my family once, and it was an epic failure.  Gummy and crunchy at the same time, a textural nightmare. But over the years, I’ve built up my cooking confidence and decided to try again. And wow, what yummy results.

Quick Quinoa Lunch

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups vegetable stock
  • Salt

Bring all ingredients to a boil. Lower the heat to simmer and cook covered for 10-15 minutes until all the liquid is absorbed.  It should have a slight crunch when it’s done due to the germ ring around the grain. If REALLY pressed for time, you can also cook your quinoa in the microwave. Add the same ratio of liquid to quinoa in a microwave safe bowl. Cover and heat on high for 4 minutes, then stir. Cover and heat again for 2 minutes, stir. Let stand for 1-2 minutes before serving. Easy enough!

For a super quick lunch, I like to add whatever I have on hand. Today I had:

  • 1/4 cucumber, chopped
  • 1/4 cup garbanzo beans
  • 1/4 cup black beans
  • 1/8 cup red onions, finely minced
  • 1 TB cilantro, chopped
  • Zest and juice of 1/2 lime
  • Drizzle of olive oil
  • Salt and pepper to taste

You will also notice frozen peas in this photo. No need to add these (I was getting rid of the end of a bag!). Literally, mix all of your veggies into a tupperware and top with the quinoa.

Add the herbs, lime zest and juice, and olive oil on top. Season with salt and pepper and stir to combine. Pop the top on, and you are all set for a lunch that is satisfying, filling, and cheap. You won’t even need to snack, because this will hold you over until dinner. Hope you have success if this is your first time cooking quinoa, and don’t forget you read about it on Green Gourmets!

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