Quinoa: more than a brown rice substitute for lazy and scatter brained cooks

Quinoa is a versatile super food that's easy to cook
photo: pfctdayelise

Have you entered quinoa into your meal rotation yet?  If not, you need to update your menus, because quinoa is a delicious super food.

Quinoa, which is pronounced KEEN-wah, contains all 8 essential amino acids, which makes it a complete protein.  It is a good source of fiber, iron, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous.  It contains B vitamins as well.

When cooked, quinoa is light and fluffy, with a nutty flavor.  One of my favorite things about it?  It cooks in a mere 15-20 minutes.  This tends to be especially important at my house, because I never seem to get the brown rice on the stovetop in time for a good 40 minute simmer.

But quinoa is more than a brown rice substitute for lazy or scatter brained cooks; it can be a side, a lunch, a breakfast, even a dinner.  Here are some ideas to get you started:

  1. Be a lazy cook who claims she's a purist: simmer for 15-20 minutes, fluff with fork and serve.  It is a perfect side to accompany salmon, pork, or chicken
  2. Add quinoa to soups to increase their nutritional content.  I recommend adding it to lentil soup
  3. Add diced vegetables to it.  I love quinoa with diced tomatoes, feta cheese, and a drizzle of olive oil.  Diced zucchini is a good addition as well
  4. Make it a breakfast food.  Add frozen mixed berries.  Add chopped walnuts and a drizzle of maple syrup.  Add sauteed apples and cinnamon.
  5. Make it a salad.  If you have leftovers from dinner, add it to salad as a healthy substitute for croutons.  Or try my favorite.  Toss with grapefruit sections, avocado slices, and chopped onion.  Drizzle with olive oil and add a dash of salt and pepper.
How do you like your quinoa?  I'd love to get inspired by your favorite recipes.

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