What is this difficult to pronounce food?
Quinoa (keen-wah) is usually considered to be a whole grain, but it is actually a seed that comes from South America. But it is often prepared as grains are like rice or barley. I had seen all sorts of recipes and articles and such about this grain and I didn't think I was trendy enough to try it out, but I put my insecurities aside and purchased my first bag. Speaking of purchasing...it isn't the cheapest item in the grocery store, but keep in mind, a little bit goes a long way because it fluffs up when you cook it just like rice.
Reasons why quinoa is "in" right now:
1. It is considered a healthy alternative...and these days all things healthy are "in"...thus...
2. It is gluten and cholesterol free. Another big thing right now, the gluten free phenomenon. I do understand some people are required to eat gluten free however, so for them, this is great!
3. Although high carb, also very high in protein--it fills you up very quick! So bulk it up with veggies and other goodies and you have a hearty healthy meal that will keep you full and satisfied.
4. It cooks quickly. Once your water is boiled it only takes about 10-15 minutes to get that high protein grain nice and fluffy and ready to eat.
So that's all of the reasons I could come up with...but I think they're pretty good...at least for me who is easily lured in by trendy things. Congratulations Quinoa, ya got me.
I posted a recipe in my last post that included quinoa in the recipe and I highly recommend it. If you like pizza, you'll enjoy these yummy quinoa pizza creations!
I had tried another recipe before that because the picture on Pinterest caught my eye. Anything with broccoli and cheese has to be good! I've tried to spread the broccoli love to my kindergarteners...they're not quite on my level yet. Anywho...it is a broccoli and cheese casserole, but instead of rice, I'll give you one guess.....you got it! QUINOA! Very very yummy. LOVED this one!
I tried another recipe last week which has been my favorite so far! I am always looking for things to take in my lunch that are healthy, that will keep in a lunchbox, and preferably don't have to be heated. We eat lunch in our classrooms so its a little difficult to run to the microwave everyday. All that to be said, I discovered this quinoa recipe, surprise surprise; which turned out to be a great lunch box option.
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
|Recipe adapted from here|
What you will need:
1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
1/2 tsp. salt
1 red bell pepper, diced into small pieces
1 can black beans, rinsed and drained
1/2 cup sliced green onion
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro
(Another great addition is tomato if you want to add more to it!)
Lettuce to serve on (optional)
2 tablespoons fresh-squeezed lime juice
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon chile pepper
pepper to taste
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
What to do...
Check the quinoa package to see if it needs to be rinsed (it often needs to be rinsed in a mesh strainer). Combine quinoa, water, and salt and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer covered for 15 minutes, or until all water is absorbed. Fluff quinoa with a fork and let cool while you prepare the other ingredients.
Combine diced red pepper, drained black beans, green onion, and cilantro in a large bowl. Set aside and make dressing.
Whisk all the ingredients for the dressing together.
Add the (fairly cool) quinoa to your other ingredients and then stir in you dressing. Add enough to moisten all ingredients.
The salad absorbs the dressing especially well when it is refrigerated so it is best after it has chilled for a little while. I scooped mine on top of some lettuce and ate it as a salad, but it is also great by itself!