By now I’m sure many of you have heard about the “superfood” called quinoa. If you haven’t, today you’ll read some facts that will, perhaps, encourage you to give it a taste. I know many of us often hear about new foods when they are suddenly thrusted into the spotlight by new food trends. (I for one hate food trends, but we’ll save that discussion more for another time.) But quinoa is different, it isn’t a must-try-food-because-all-the-cool-kids-are-cooking-it-right-now, it has been around for thousands of years.
First off, how the heck is quinoa pronounced, keen-wah. The word is the Spanish interpretation of the Quechua name. Quinoa is often referred to as a grain (or cereal), but it is in fact a seed that is related to beetroots, spinach and tumbleweeds. This seed originated in the Andean regions and it has been a very important crop for the Incas for thousands of years. This pseudograin is used in the same manner as other true grain and cereals.
All parts of the quinoa plant are edible. The greens, though uncommon in regions where it isn’t grown, are eaten like spinach. There are about 1,800 varieties but most of us will find quinoa in a yellow, red and black colour varieties. The seeds can be ground into flour or boiled and eaten like other grains/cereals or added to baked goods. Most of us can purchase quinoa in their whole seed form, rolled into flakes and puffed; The flakes and puffed quinoa are often used as morning cereal. Additionally quinoa is used to make beer!
Quinoa is a tiny little seed that has a nutty flavour, which tastes just as delicious on it’s own as it does combined with a multiple of sweet or savoury ingredients. With a very high protein content (14-18%) it makes it superior to (when compared to) true grains/cereals. Quinoa also provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein — not only should vegan/vegetarians take note, but the rest of us omnivores too. Additionally this is a gluten-free and cholesterol free product. It has also been shown that the nutty seed is good for your bones, heart and for a balanced blood sugar. All of these wonderful health benefits are why the Incas call quinoa the mother of all grains and why Westerners now referred to it as a “superfood”.
Quinoa is very easy to prepare. It only takes about 15-20 minutes. It is recommended to throughly rinse in order to prevent a slight bitter taste. Many packages state that the quinoa has already been washed, but make sure to double check your package or rinse if unsure. Normally it is a ratio of 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid that is needed. I like to use either vegetable or chicken broth as the liquid and to give it more flavour. Sometimes I also like to add other flavourings like garlic, onion or herbs — the possibilities are endless, it really depends if you’re going sweet or savoury.
Lastly I highly suggest that you read through the package instructions to know exactly how to prepare the brand you’ve purchased.
Spicy Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
When I cook quinoa it is mostly as a replacement for rice or other grains. I preferred savoury to sweet — except for when I use it in these muffins. This bowl of quinoa was leftover from the previous night’s dinner and I used it to make a breakfast bowl. As you can see all it is, is warmed-up leftover quinoa, with a runny egg and a splash of habanero hot sauce. I love this breakfast because of the creamy nuttiness that combines excellent with the soft and creaminess of the egg. Of course everything tastes better (to me) with a splash of something spicy. This is a protein packed breakfast that gives me lots of energy for hours.
More Quinoa Recipe Ideas
Quinoa salad with a curried balsamic dressing by Orgasmic Chef
Chicken and Quinoa Soup by The Messy Baker
Spicy Quinoa-Stuffed Peppers by The Messy Baker
Warm Quinoa and Roasted Vegetable Salad by The Creekside Cook
Slow Cooker Breakfast Quinoa by My Whole Food Life
Quinoa with Tomatoes, Cucumbers and Alfalfa Sprouts by Avocado Pesto (Check out all of her quinoa recipes)
Salmon with Quinoa Feta and Spinach by A Healthy Life for Me
Cheddar Chipotle Quinoa Bites by SuzyHomemaker
Peruvian Stuffed Avocados by Go Dairy Free
Cherry Almond Quinoa Pancakes by Go Dairy Free
Hazelnut Crusted Pork Tenderloin by Spicie Foodie
Apple-Pecan Quinoa Muffins by Lemons and Anchovies
Quinoa Cakes with Yogurt-Dill Dip by Lemons and Anchovies
Lentil, Quinoa, and Zucchini Salad by Kitchen Riffs
Quinoa and Sweet Potato Chili by Kitchen Riffs
chipotle black bean quinoa burgers with sweet corn relish by Oh My Veggies
curried red lentil & quinoa bowls with cilantro-mint chutney by Oh My Veggies
Mushroom Quinoa Risotto by Kitchen Confidante
Quinoa Fudge Brownies by Jeanette’s Healthy Living
Yuzu Poppy Seed Quinoa Pancakes by Tartine and Aprons Strings
Enjoy your quinoa and have a great week everyone!!
my whole food life says
I love quinoa! Thanks so much for including my recipe in your roundup. I am off to check out all the other recipes!
Karen Harris says
I like quinoa very much, but sometimes my imagination runs dry when thinking what to do with it. Thank you so much for this wonderful list of recipes. I look forward to trying them.
Donalyn@The Creekside Cook says
Thanks for including my recipe here, Nancy – much appreciated! I am like quinoa more and more, as I explore more ways to use it – now I have even more ideas to try – thanks!
Gwen @SimplyHealthyFamily says
Quinoa has a reputation for being trendy and even worse, having a damaging enviromental impact (namely for Peru). I too hate “trendy” anything but quinoa has lonng been one of my favorite go to health foods. I do my research and try to buy foods that are sustainable and truly good for you. Thanks for the recipe and other links to quinoa treats! I have some delicious and simple ones on my blog as well. OXOX
Joanne T Ferguson says
G’day! I’ve never cooked with quinoa Nancy, but is on my list to do!
Great facts! Great photos!
I absolutely love quinoa and can’t get enough. Thanks for including my post in your round up and now I’ve got so many quinoa recipes to check out!
This is such a useful post Nancy!! Loved the cooking tips and the pictures. The second picture is simply gorgeous. Quinoa is something that I have been wanting to try for long. Unfortunately, I haven’t seen quinoa around Nairobi. :(
A great post! Thanks for sharing all these tips and links with us.
I have been familiar and eating quinoa for years…I just forget a lot to make it. Shame on me, it is so healthy. I’ll have to give some of these recipes a go and start cooking it again.
Thanks for sharing. Very informative.
John@Kitchen Riffs says
Quinoa is so great, isn’t it? I love the stuff! Great post. And thanks for the link love!
I love quinoa and try to add to my meal as much as I can…I love the running egg yolk and a touch of spice…this is sure a perfect breakfast.
Thanks for the inspiration Nancy…hope you are having a beautiful week :D
Thanks for all of the information on quinoa. Very interesting. It really is a superfood! I’ve only cooked with it a couple of times, and I see from this post, that I have a lot to learn and many great recipes to go. :) Thanks for this post Nancy!
I need to get more into quinoa…. I have a whole jar full that I have yet to cook.