Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Cook With a New Food: Quinoa

Cook with a New Food -- one you've never tried, or one you never even heard of...

It’s one of those foods that makes you wonder if somebody recently invented it.  Where’s it been hiding all these years?  Why was it lurking in the shadows until its recent popularity?  Whatever the answers, I’m glad these little grains of light have caught my attention now!


Pronounced “Keen-wah”, quinoa is a grain-like seed that you can do just about anything with.  Its flavor is light enough, with just a hint nuttyness, that you can serve it under any vegetable, protein, sauce, you name it, similarly to how rice can pair well with whatever.  I only started eating quinoa over the past year, but never made it myself.  My friend Alyssa cooks it often, so she inspired my use of it for my first attempt at cooking it.  I’ve got to admit I was a little embarrassed by how easy it was.  It’s funny how a silly little unfamiliar word can intimidate you.

But don’t let it!  This newly popular food is chock-full of fiber and protein, PLUS it’s a good source of Magnesium, Phosphorus, and Manganese.  

Image taken from Self Nutrition Data Online

Look at that beautiful balance of fat, carbs (fiber!), and protein.  Do you really need to see more?  Start eating it NOW!

Last night, I made Quinoa for dinner, but I honestly didn’t do much.  I cooked it according to package instructions and paired it with veggies and fish.  Still, it made for a delicious, filling meal.  Next time, I’ll try a more exotic approach… better start hunting down some good-looking recipes now!  If you’ve made a great Quinoa dish, leave a comment or let me know.  We’ll have a future post with different recipes and ways to incorporate quinoa into your life. 

For now, though, this was a great start!  Try it out at home.  I dare you.

Read more to see how I made my first quinoa dish.

Quinoa with Salmon and Vegetables

1.  Cook 1 cup of dry quinoa according to package instructions.  (Boil water, add quinoa, let simmer until quinoa absorbs all water.  Fluff before serving.) - This yields 4 cups, cooked.  

2. Boil or microwave some broccoli and carrots.  Chop them into small pieces.  Add to the finished quinoa and mix together.

3. Add some lemon juice and seasonings to taste.  Serve!

Here, I paired my quinoa with baked salmon and roasted vegetables.  This is for the basic, basic quinoa, a good first experiment cooking a new food.  In the future, I’ll try to play with seasonings, sauces, etc. to give more, better, varied recipes.  Again, please share your own recipes and ideas!  Above, I just used the same flavors (lemon, pepper) that I used on the fish sitting on top of it, and it tasted great.  In the next day’s leftovers, I put a bit of soy sauce over the quinoa and salmon for an Asian flair. Yum.  Success.

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