Kicked Up Quinoa
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. So, is it even possible to kick up quinoa more than its already super grain status? Obviously the answer is yes.
Prep: 2 minutes
Cook Time: 15-20 minutes
Yields: 2 cups
- 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.
Of course fresh is best. But as you see pictured here, I originally used bagged mixed veggies. I was really tied up with the kids and getting dinner on the table. A good plan of action is to always have some pre-cut vegetables on hand. Now when I got to the farmers market or grocery store and see good seasonal produce, I buy a little extra. I chop it up when I have extra time and store it in containers.
- Rinse and drain quinoa in cold water before cooking.
- Put quinoa, water, and stock in pot and bring to a boil.
- Reduce to a simmer then cover.
- Cook until water and stock is gone (10-15 minutes).
- Add roasted onions and peppers (or whatever you want to add).
- 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.
|Serving size: 1/4 cup|
|Calories from Fat||27|
|% Daily Value *|
|Fat 3 g||5%|
|Saturated fat 0 g|
|Unsaturated fat 0 g|
|Carbohydrates 30 g||10%|
|Sugar 1 g|
|Fiber 3 g||12%|
|Protein 5 g||10%|
|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.|
- 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.
About the Author
Stephanie Bradberry is a freelance writer and editor. She is an educator, herbalist, and naturopath who runs her own home-based business, Naturally Fit & Well, LLC. One of her favorite pastimes is whipping up or trying out recipes.