The part of the plant we eat is the seed of the grain plant known as Quinoa. It is grown in South America and a great gluten free food that is a good source of protein, fiber, folate and minerals including magnesium, zinc and iron.
There are different colors of quinoa. White, red and black, and you may also purchase tri color quinoa, which is a blend of all three.
Quinoa is often bland and sometimes bitter if served by itself, but by adding a dressing with citrus and olive oil and spices, beans and/or a few veggies & greens, you can transform it into a delicious salad in a few minutes. It's versatility, easy prep and quick cooking time has made quinoa a regular staple in my pantry, and on our plates.
Be sure to wash your quinoa well. Add measured amount to a fine mesh strainer and run under cold water. It can be soaked 2-4 hours and will sprout which will aid in digestion. You can also try toasting it in a dry skillet to help add a nutty flavor.
Add washed quinoa to a dry skillet over med-low heat. Use a rice paddle or bamboo spatula and stir constantly to avoid burning. When it begins to turn golden brown, it's done and ready to be boiled.
Basic Cooking Instructions
1 cup washed quinoa
1 1/2 cups water or broth, 1 1/4 cups liquid if quinoa has been soaked
pinch of sea salt
Bring liquid & salt to a boil and stir in quinoa. Reduce heat to low and cover. Cook 12-15 minutes or until quinoa is soft and all liquid has been absorbed. Fluff with a fork and transfer to a bowl to cool.
This is one of my favorite quinoa salads to make. It is great as a taco or burrito filling, but is perfect just by itself.
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 1/2 cup frozen corn kernels
1 red pepper, diced
1 can black or pinto beans
1 head romaine lettuce, shredded
1/2 purple onion, diced
1/2 bunch of fresh cilantro, finely chopped
2 avocados cute into cubes
Juice of 2 limes
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1/2 tsp cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Whisk all ingredients well in a small bowl.
Make your dressing separately and add all ingredients to a mixing bowl. Pour dressing over and stir well to coat.