The new superfood?

Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wah’, looks like a grain, is put into the whole grain category, but it isn’t a grain, it’s a seed.  This interesting little seed surprisingly contains so many health benefits I’m surprised more people aren’t enjoying it.  Granted I know it isn’t as convenient as slapping something onto two slices of bread but with the right planning you can enjoy quinoa easily and reap all the benefits.

the Benefits:

  • Quinoa cooks quickly, 10-15 minutes at most.
  • It is a gluten-free, vegan and kosher food.
  • It contains all 9 essential amino acids making it a complete protein.
  • Quinoa is versatile; used in breakfast dishes as well as salads and casseroles.
  • It is also a great source of minerals such as magnesium, iron and selenium and contains       folate and vitamin E (selenium’s partner) as well.
  • 1/3 cup cooked quinoa = 6 grams of protein, in comparison the same amount of brown rice     contains 1.5 grams of protein.

cooking your best Quinoa:

If you’re familiar you’re all set.  If not, there are different schools of thought actually.  The quinoa box recommends a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to liquid (water or stock) but I’ve made a better batch of quinoa using less water.    A trick I learned on Healthy Cooking Camp is to keep the ratio lower, they use 1:1 but I tend to go for 1 cup quinoa to 1.5 cups liquid, it seems to be just right. This method will give you quinoa that is light and fluffy, which is what we want don’t we?  No mushy quinoa, please.

So add the quinoa + liquid to a saucepan and stir to mix.

Bring to a boil then reduce to simmer for 10-15 minutes.  (when the water is GONE, you’re done)

Then place the lid on tightly and remove from the burner.  Allow to steam for another 5 minutes or more.

Fluff with a fork, your quinoa is done.

enjoying the Quinoa:

There are really so many ways to incorporate it into your day, it’s so versatile.  Here are some of my favorite ways;

Quick quinoa porridge

Ingredients:

1 cup cooked quinoa

½ cup milk (almond, rice, cow or soy)

2 Tbsp fruit (dried cranberries, raisins, apples, blueberries or bananas all work well)

2 Tbsp nuts or seeds (flax, sesame, pumpkin, almonds, cashews or pecans)

1 tsp cinnamon

¼ tsp nutmeg

Pinch of sea salt

Directions:

Combine all the ingredients except the fruit + nuts or seeds in a pan. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to medium-low, cover and simmer for about 5 minutes or until most of the liquid has evaporated.

Add the fruit and nuts or seeds.

Sweeten with a teaspoon of honey or organic maple syrup if desired.

Quinoa + kale patties                                                                           

Ingredients:

2 ½ cups cooked quinoa, room temperature

4 large eggs, beaten (or chia seeds + water)

½ tsp salt

1 onion, finely chopped

1 cup kale, finely chopped

1/3 cup finely grated parmesan cheese (or pine nut/nutritional yeast/onion puree)

3 cloves garlic, finely chopped

1 cup whole-grain bread crumbs (use ground oatmeal or a gluten-free option)

1 Tbsp olive oil

Directions:

Combine the quinoa, eggs, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir in the onion, cheese, garlic and kale.  Add the bread crumbs and let it set for a few minutes.  Form mixture into 8-10 patties (add more bread crumbs if the mixture is too wet, add water if too dry).

Place patties on a cooking sheet and drizzle with oil.  Bake 20 minutes on 400 degrees, flip over and bake another 5 minutes until golden brown.

* please note that I have yet to find the perfect ratio to keep my patties completely intact while cooking,

in fact even forming the pattie is tricky.  I try to handle as little as possible so mine end up looking like

large oval quinoa balls (but are still delicious).

* please also note that I’ve also made these in a pan on the stove.  They are much more crumbly this

way but end up crispier, I found it easier and less frustrating to bake them besides I used a lot less oil

as well.

(this recipe was adapted partially from Whole Living and partially from 101 Cookbooks)

 

When I’m not making these patties I’m adding a scoop of quinoa with red pepper and onion to a salad or as a side dish, even a drizzle of olive oil, salt, pepper and squeeze of lemon makes a good dish with lentils and vegetables.  Some other ideas to pair with your quinoa are my kabocha squash, hearty mushroom kale or my kale and spicy white beans.

If you have a favorite way to use quinoa, let me know in the comments below.  Enjoy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments

  1. I love quinoa! Thank you for sharing Amber, these are great recipes. I frequently use quinoa when making stuffed peppers and they are a delicious and filling meal!

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