Kicked Up Quinoa: A Great Gluten-Free Side or Main Dish

Beef with a side of quinoa and plantains
Beef with a side of quinoa and plantains | Source

Quinoa is a super grain that is becoming more and more popular on cooking shows and our everyday vocabulary. While it is one of the oldest grains on earth (found among the remains of ancient civilizations like the Incas), more industrialized nations are learning all the benefits of a grain that is a staple elsewhere. Quinoa is pronounced keen-wah, so my title is actually alliterative. Among the many benefits of quinoa, it is a great source of protein, fiber, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, and folate. Quinoa has such a light flavor that it is used in pastas, soups, salads, breads, puddings, and breakfast cereals. You can enjoy quinoa as a main dish by adding chicken, mushroom, or other hearty items or as a side.

5 stars from 1 rating of Kicked Up Quinoa

Prep: 2 minutes

Cook Time: 15-20 minutes

Yields: 2 cups

Box of quinoa
Box of quinoa | Source
Box of vegetable stock
Box of vegetable stock | Source
Bag of fire roasted onions and peppers
Bag of fire roasted onions and peppers | Source

Ingredients


  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 cup vegetable stock
  • 1 cup roasted onions and peppers


See the notes sections below for suggestions of items to add or replace. Since working with quinoa is like working with an blank palette, you can really add whatever you like.

Beginning of cooking quinoa
Beginning of cooking quinoa | Source
Source
Quinoa almost done
Quinoa almost done | Source

Directions

  1. Rinse and drain quinoa in cold water before cooking.
  2. Put quinoa, water, and stock in pot and bring to a boil.
  3. Reduce to a simmer then cover.
  4. Cook until water and stock is gone (10-15 minutes).
  5. Add roasted onions and peppers (or whatever you want to add).
  6. Cook for an additional 2 minutes if the items added are frozen.

When Is The Quinoa Done?

If quinoa is new to your grocery list, you may be wondering how you will know when the quinoa is done. You will know it is done when the germ ring (the outermost part of the grain) is visible. Compared to the rest of the grain, which will be more translucent, the germ ring will almost look white but not translucent.

If you look at the before and after picture above, you have a slight indicator of how much the color changes. If the grain becomes overcooked, the ring will actually break apart. But the taste is still there and you just end up with some even more interesting grains.

Quinoa

Nutrition Facts
Serving size: 1/4 cup
Calories 170
Calories from Fat27
% Daily Value *
Fat 3 g5%
Saturated fat 0 g
Unsaturated fat 0 g
Carbohydrates 30 g10%
Sugar 1 g
Fiber 3 g12%
Protein 5 g10%
Cholesterol 0 mg
* The Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet, so your values may change depending on your calorie needs. The values here may not be 100% accurate because the recipes have not been professionally evaluated nor have they been evaluated by the U.S. FDA.

Notes

  • While I made the whole box of quinoa, equivalent to 8 servings, I suggest only making half of the box for dinner. But I used the whole box so I had ready-made quinoa on hand for lunches during the week.
  • If you want to know how I made the plantains, click here. Yes I had two plantains left over from the first time I made them, but everyone liked them so much I made them two days later.
  • You can just use two cups of water if you do not want to use stock.
  • You can also try other stock flavors, like beef, chicken, or ham.
  • The prepared roasted onions and peppers can be omitted or even replaced with just sautéed onions and garlic.
  • Quinoa can also be made in a rice cooker or microwave.
  • Try adding different ingredients to your quinoa to suit your taste. In the past I have added fresh tomato, fresh parsley, and even made a quinoa salad with tabbouleh and champagne vinaigrette.

Song About Tabbouleh

Botanical Gardens in Colorado
Botanical Gardens in Colorado | Source

About the Author

Stephanie Bradberry Crosby is first and foremost an educator and life-long learner. Her present work is as an herbalist, naturopath, and Reiki Master. She spent over a decade as a professor of English, Literature, and Education and high school English teacher. She is a doctoral candidate in Education: Curriculum and Teaching. She runs her own home-based business, Naturally Fit & Well, LLC, which includes her all-natural, handmade, and customizable product line, Natural Herbal Blends. Stephanie loves being a freelance writer and editor on the side. One her favorite past times is whipping up recipes.

More by this Author


Comments 17 comments

prospectboy profile image

prospectboy 4 years ago from Texas

Up until reading your article, I had never heard of "Quinoa". Looks pretty interesting for sure. You also provided some great photos. I think the name alone will stick with me. Voted both useful and interesting, and also shared on Twitter. Great hub!


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hey prospectboy, so good to "hear" from you. Thanks for being a valued reader as always.

You really have to try quinoa. I think you will like it. And you know I would never steer you wrong. Sometimes I like adding mandarin oranges to the quinoa. And then I will have the quinoa as a side to smoked salmon (the best paring I have come up with so far.

Thanks for sharing on Twitter.

p.s. you will be glad to know today someone found the Trader Joe's gluten-free chocolate chip cookies online. So I am updating that hub today so you can share in my Trader Joe joy!


prospectboy profile image

prospectboy 4 years ago from Texas

No problem StephanieBCrosby. I always enjoy reading your articles. I definitely look forward to trying out the quinoa. It sounds even more better with the smoked salmon you mentioned. I'll definitely go back and read your updated article on the cookies. If they are online, I will definitely buy them. Thanks again!


rebeccamealey profile image

rebeccamealey 4 years ago from Northeastern Georgia, USA

I am all for nutrition, and this quinoa dish sounds easy and economical as well. thanks for sharing!


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Sounds awesome, prospectboy.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hi rebeccamealey, this dish is. And the best part is each person has the choice to keep it vegetarian or make it into whatever he or she wishes depending on what is added. The only bad thing is quinoa can be pricy depending on where and how much you buy. But if you shop around, you can find pretty good deals. Thanks for reading.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

I was so excited to see you have a quinoa recipe! As you can imagine, here in Peru we eat a lot of quinoa and it's an inexpensive source of non-animal protein. I look forward to trying your recipe; it sounds delicious.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hello vespawoolf. I am so glad you found my recipe interesting. I hope you try it soon. I wish quinoa was more readily available in the stores in America. But right now they are mainly in the health stores and more mainstream stores only offer pre-packaged mixes.


vespawoolf profile image

vespawoolf 4 years ago from Peru, South America

Yes, maybe someday that will change. : )


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 4 years ago from Houston, Texas

Hi Stephanie,

I have also written a hub about quinoa and love using it in many ways...especially in many of my homemade soups. It is so easy to cook and healthful. I like your idea of adding the roasted veggies to it. I just happen to have some roasted vegetables on hand right now. I can see a dish coming using quinoa soon! Up and useful votes.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hello Peggy W. I love quinoa. And it is interesting how everyone has a different approach to their recipe. Happy eating once you make yours with the roasted vegetables. I will have to check out your article.


carol7777 profile image

carol7777 4 years ago from Arizona

I make this often but learned a few new things. Thanks for sharing this recipe.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

carol777, that's the great thing about quinoa. It is such a blank canvas that you can keep on reinventing it each time you make it. Happy eating!


Hyphenbird profile image

Hyphenbird 4 years ago from America-Broken But Still Beautiful

My family loves quinoa but I fail to make it as often as I could. You have encouraged me to remedy that. thanks for helping us eat better and being healthier.


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 4 years ago from New Jersey Author

I'm glad this inspired you to get back in the kitchen with quinoa. I love quinoa and trying different combinations. And I love that something so tasty has so many benefits.


Crystal Tatum profile image

Crystal Tatum 3 years ago from Georgia

I have tried quinoa but I have to admit, it's not one of my favorites because it is so bland. This is a very useful hub for me. Voting up and pinning this one!


StephanieBCrosby profile image

StephanieBCrosby 3 years ago from New Jersey Author

Hi Crystal,

Quinoa can be bland if not flavored well or eaten as is. But the great thing about it being bland as is is that you can make it into whatever you want. Some people sweeten it a bit and make a breakfast type cereal. Others go the more savory route. But have fun experimenting. Thanks for reading.

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