The quinoa wave is getting bigger and bigger – the product has gone all the way from the bottom shelves of local food stores to the national supermarket aisles.
Its rich protein content, subtle nutty flavor, and light and fluffy texture have made quinoa a popular alternative to rice as well as pasta. Ask anyone; quinoa is a very easy grain to love and enjoy. Today, we’re going to take a closer look at this healthful grain, the benefits, and some delicious recipes for you to try at home. Let’s get started, shall we?
What Is Quinoa?
Grown and cultivated in the Andes for centuries, quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a complete protein boasting all nine essential amino acids. Technically, quinoa is not a grain but a seed, although it can be served virtually the same ways as other whole grains.
The demand for quinoa has increased steadily over the past few years, as people have found its light nutty taste and superfood properties quite beneficial. As a complete protein source also high in magnesium, iron, and fiber, quinoa is surprisingly easy to cook.
How to Buy Quinoa?
There are thousands of quinoa varieties out there, but there are three main types found in U.S. supermarkets: red quinoa, white quinoa, and black quinoa. White quinoa has a neutral, subtle flavor — if you are new to quinoa, you might want to start with this one and let your taste buds get a feel for it. Now, red and black quinoa both have their distinct features. They’re a little stronger and earthier in flavor than white quinoa. They’re more enjoyable in salads or other colorful dishes. The recipes outlined below works for any kind of quinoa you have.
If you’re looking to add powerful nutrition and rich flavor to all of your meals, Roots of Health’s Organic Raw Quinoa is an excellent option. This organic quinoa is best enjoyed in salads and stews, or raw.
Always Rinse Your Quinoa
Quinoa possesses a natural coating, called saponin, that sometimes makes the cooked grain taste bitter. Luckily, getting rid of this coating is super easy – just rinse the quinoa right before cooking. Packaged quinoa is usually pre-rinsed, but it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds one last rinse before you get to cooking. In case you don’t already have one at home, we find this double mesh strainer particularly useful in cooking with quinoa.
Experiment With Quinoa
You can use quinoa just as you would any other grain, like rice! It makes a fabulous side dish for almost any meal — especially when you cook it with broth rather than water. Quinoa can also be used in breakfast meals, casseroles, and salads. Because there are so many quinoa recipes out there, giving you just one is not going to showcase the broad versatility of quinoa. Take a look at the list of exciting quinoa recipes below for some inspiration.
Easy Quinoa Recipes
12 Recipes with Quinoa
- Grilled Halloumi & Quinoa Salad
- Sweet and Crunchy Quinoa Salad
- Black Bean and Heirloom Tomato Quinoa with Lemon Dressing
- Quinoa with Chickpeas, Asparagus, and Fresh Peas
- 3-Egg Omelet with Quinoa, Sun-Dried Tomatoes, and Goat Cheese
- Quinoa Tabbouleh
- Quinoa Stuffed Sweet Dumpling Squash
- Tex-Mex Quinoa Salad
- Tuna & Cucumber Quinoa Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette
- Golden Quinoa Salad with Lemon, Dill & Avocado
- Black Bean, Sweet Potato, and Quinoa Chili
- Quinoa Salad with Radishes and Greens
Additional Quinoa Cooking Facts
- How much water does it take to cook quinoa? For one cup quinoa, you need 1 3/4 cups water (or broth).
- How long does it take to cook quinoa? One cup of quinoa will take about 20 minutes.
- How much quinoa does one cup of dry quinoa yield? One cup of quinoa seeds yields about three cups of cooked quinoa.
- How can I add more flavor? Quinoa is delicious when cooked in vegetable broth. If you don’t have broth, you can also add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt to each cup of quinoa when cooking. You can add other seasonings and herbs during cooking, such as cloves of smashed garlic, fresh rosemary, or a pinch of black pepper.
- Can I use my rice cooker to make quinoa? Absolutely! Just use the same liquid-to-quinoa ratio above and follow the labeling on your cooker.
- Can I store quinoa? Leftover quinoa can be refrigerated in a sealed container for up to a week or frozen for up to a month.
Quinoa is a fantastic ingredient to experiment with. It’s healthy, light and fluffy in texture, and can fill people up just as much as other grains. If you’re expecting company or want some leftovers for the rest of the week, these recipes easily double.