Quinoa is an amazing whole grain that is high in protein, fiber, and many other nutrients .
Although not a common item in most kitchens today, quinoa is an amino acid-rich (protein) seed that has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy texture and a somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Quinoa is available in your local health food stores throughout the year.
Most commonly considered a grain, quinoa is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas.”
It can be used in any dish that calls for rice, couscous, etc. An advantage of quinoa is that it cooks a lot faster than rice.
My favorite way to eat quinoa is this pilaf. It’s really simple and quick to make. It tastes even better as leftovers because the quinoa absorbs all the flavors from the dressing. It can be eaten hot or cold. If you don’t like certain vegetables feel free to add whatever ones you like. I used pinto beans this time because it’s what I had on hand. Sometimes I like to add feta cheese right before I eat it.
Quinoa Bean Pilaf
*Makes 4 -5 servings
1 cup dry quinoa (rinsed in cold water)
2 cups water
1/2 red bell pepper, diced
1/2 cup broccoli, diced
1/3 cup carrots, diced
1 tomato, diced
1/2 cup cooked beans (your choice)
Lemon Herb Vinaigrette* (recipe follows)
In a medium saucepan, add quinoa, water, and vegetables (except for tomato). Bring to a boil, then simmer and cover until all of the liquid is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes). Once cooked, transfer to another bowl and add tomato and beans. Toss together with lemon herb vinaigrette.
Lemon Herb Vinaigrette
2 lemons, freshly squeezed
1-2 garlics, minced
2 tsp dijon mustard
2 tsp dried herbs of choice
salt & pepper
1/4 cup olive oil
Combine all ingredients in a container with a tight fitting lid and shake vigorously until well combined.
You can find red or yellow quinoa. They taste the same, but I think the red is prettier!