My New Love Affair: Quinoa

It all happened so fast…

I’d been perfectly happy with my brown rice and occasional couscous for a long time. Even after I stopped eating meat, those old standbys always did the trick when I needed a traditional meal base, or something a little more exotic with herbs and pine nuts.

But last night, everything changed.

We’d been eyeing each other a while, me and Bob’s Red Mill quinoa (say: keen-wa). We’d never even been formally introduced, but I think we both knew that it would happen eventually. The small white ‘grains’ had wiggled their way into my pantry, and at about 6pm last night, I gave in.

I thought nothing of ripping open the bag and measuring out the grain and water – I’d done it a thousand times with rice… this really wasn’t any different. But when the quinoa was finished, and mixing languidly with the seasoning and veggies in my Baby Buddha Bowl, I could tell by the look and smell that I was about to experience something new.

Maybe it was the complex taste (grain, nut, earth), or maybe it was the protein lovin’ on my vegetarian gut (quinoa contains all nine of the essential amino acids!). Whatever it was, I was in love. I couldn’t leave it alone. Part of me wanted to savor the satiating, yet delicate, treat. The rest of me wanted to devour every last bite to the point of indigestion.

My advice: Don’t hold back. Give in to the the super grain that wants to get to know you.

Here’s my Haphazard Recipe for a quick lunch or dinner:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup dry quinoa
  • olive oil (1 tbsp-ish)
  • 1 diced Roma tomato
  • handful chopped onion
  • handful frozen peas
  • minced garlic (to taste)
  • Greek seasoning (to taste)
  • pepper (to taste)
  • dash salt
  • lemon juice (to taste)

Directions:

  1. Boil the 2 cups of water
  2. Add all the quinoa, reduce heat and cover
  3. When quinoa is finished (similarly to couscous – water all absorbed, grain soft and fluffy), fluff with fork
  4. Mix in olive oil, tomato, onion, peas, garlic, Greek seasoning, pepper, salt, and lemon juice
  5. Put all food in face

Smart Cookie Tip

This part was totally an accident, but I actually cooked the quinoa just a little longer than it needed. The result was a lovely golden brown color throughout the grain, and a slightly toastier flavor.

Other good points to know about quinoa:

  • It’s gluten free
  • Not actually a grain, quinoa is more closely related to leafy greens
  • It was considered the ‘gold of the Incas’

I realize that for those of you who have worked with quinoa before, this is all ridiculously obvious. But for me, it took impulsive hunger and the need to use up leftovers to open that bag. I’m hoping that all of you who haven’t yet enjoyed quinoa take a cue from my sudden and expected long-term affair.

Bain sult as!

8 Comments

Filed under Recipes

8 Responses to My New Love Affair: Quinoa

  1. marie

    want to pass for a while rice & I don’t see eye to eye

    • Sara

      Yay Quinoa!
      I love my quinoa in pancake form. It’s not only gluten free, it’s a staple of those on strict no sugar, no yeast, or super low carb diets.

  2. I’ve had my quinoa in the pantry for two weeks now. I have no idea why I find it so intimidating. However, that recipe sounds like a winnder (sans tomatoes, I can’t eat tomatoes -sad emoticon). It might just be the winner.

    I did make a quinoa granola though, with reg and red quinoa. I bout creamed my bloomers.
    http://hungryhungryhippie.com/2011/02/23/quinoa-granola/

    • Katie Reilly Mitchell

      It’s weird, isn’t it? I found it really intimidating too… but it’s totally not. I think it’s just because it seemed so foreign… didn’t fit into the meat and potato upbringing. But it’s super easy, and super tasty. You’ll have no problem. Just keep some fresh bloomers on hand;)

  3. Sara

    As requested:
    Quinoa Pancakes (approx. 8 pancakes)
    1 Cup quinoa flour
    2 eggs
    1/2 Cup water
    1/2 Cup lactose-free milk (or water)
    1/4 teaspoon salt (to taste)
    1Tablespoon cinnamon
    2Tablespoons olive oil
    20 drops liquid stevia (alcohol-free)

    Mix dry ingredients together; mix wet ingredients; blend together

    *** for fluffier pancakes, add approx. 1/2 t baking soda
    ***for savory pancakes omit stevia, add herbs to taste or I like garlic salt instead of regular salt. (You can’t taste cinnamon without a sweetener, but it’s very good for you!)
    ***for Crepes, add up to a 1/4 Cup of water, pour 1/8 of batter into a hot pan and rotate the pan to spread the batter out to a thin layer.

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