Quinoa: How many people can pronounce it (KEEN-wah) or spell it, let alone cook it?
Don’t be put off by the funny spelling. Quinoa (a grain-like crop that comes from a flowering plant and is extremely high in protein and a good source of fiber) really isn’t intimidating. It cooks just like rice or couscous, but it’s so much healthier and more fashionable!
Quinoa caught my eye a few years ago in a box mix–one of those assortments with a seasoning packet included. Shorty thereafter I recall seeing the Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa in Gourmet magazine, so I sought out the quinoa and made it. (I have not always found quinoa easy to locate though, especially when I lived in a small town!)
Quick Quinoa Recipes
- Black Bean and Tomato Quinoa (Gourmet/Epicurious)
- Three Bean Salad with Quinoa (Whole Foods)
- Quinoa with Chick Peas and Tomatoes (Allrecipes)
- Herbed Quinoa (Food Network/Giada)
- Beef and Quinoa Meatballs (Whole Foods)
- Zucchini with Quinoa Stuffing (Real Simple)
- Quinoa Muffins (Martha Stewart)
- More quinoa recipes
I have slowly collected more quinoa recipes that I enjoy, especially in summer, my season of continual grain-type salads. There are quinoa salads I make for a main course (usually lunch) and those I make for side dishes for dinners. I found a Whole Foods recipe for quinoa with cucumber, garbanzo beans, nectarines, and sliced almonds, which has become a summer staple for me. (Sadly it does not seem to be on the site anymore.)
I also enjoy the Three Bean Salad with Quinoa, which Whole Foods featured with salmon cakes, so that’s what I made the first time I tried that recipe, and my vegetarian mother and I really enjoyed it.
When I recently found myself without all the ingredients for the Quinoa with Chick Peas and Tomatoes, I detoured to the Herbed Quinoa, which served as the perfect side for the chicken and spinach I was preparing for dinner. It also accompanied salmon and broccoli the following evening. (The only downside was that the kids really didn’t care for it.)
If you are seeking a more family-friendly quinoa dish: my one year old niece devoured the surprise-hit Beef and Quinoa Meatballs. I bet my children would also enjoy them if given a bit of pasta with red sauce with them. They do love meatballs.
I have prepared the Zucchini with Quinoa Stuffing for my veggie-eating mom, who–no surprise–loved it. It was quite good, but slightly more labor intensive.
Having experimented with the traditional quinoa, my next adventure will be with the red variety. What do you do with quinoa?
Julie Hallinan learned to cook three years ago when she suddenly found herself living in a town with no good restaurants and a husband in the cabinet business who made her dream kitchen possible. Her newfound interest in cooking has inspired her to use interesting and healthful ingredients, and in a dairy-free diet to boot. Now she lives in suburban Chicago with her husband (now in the spirits business), her 7-year-old son, and her 5-year-old daughter. When she is not refereeing her kids’ arguments, she can be found in the kitchen. She spends any spare time on the tennis court and at the ice rink.