I first discovered quinoa when I was misdiagnosed with gluten sensitivity (though that is a story for another day), as it is gluten-free.
Quinoa is one of my favorite “grains,” though it is actually a seed. I love it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, sweet or savory. I always have a huge container in my kitchen.
What is so awesome about quinoa?
Quinoa is about 15% protein. Unlike wheat, rice, and many other grains, quinoa contains all the essential amino acids in a good balance, making it a complete protein source. This is especially important for those who eat little to no meat or dairy.
These little seeds are also packed with fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron, making quinoa a nutritional powerhouse.
Another thing to love about quinoa? It cooks much faster than rice! Quinoa will cook in a mere 15 minutes or so. Yum.
What does it taste like?
Quinoa tastes slightly nutty and while it is soft, it retains more texture than oatmeal or rice dishes. Unless, of course, you toast it. This makes it crunchy and crackly, and just as delicious as cooked quinoa.
What do I do with it?
Quinoa can be bought pre-packaged or in bulk. Whichever you choose, make sure to rinse the quinoa briefly under cold water to remove any of the remaining saponins. Saponins form the outer coating of quinoa and gives the seeds a soapy, bitter taste. Harvesting and processing will remove most of them, but a quick rinse to get rid of any lingering saponins is still a good idea!
To cook the seeds, heat one part quinoa with two parts liquid over medium in a covered pot. When the mixture starts to boil, reduce the heat to low and remove the cover. Cook, stirring occasionally, for 10-15 minutes, or until desired texture is reached.
To toast the seeds, check out Caitlin’s recipe!
What is my favorite way to eat it?
Though most people think of quinoa as a lunch or dinner meal, my favorite time of day to eat it is for breakfast. I use a combination of milk (or milk substitute) with water for the liquid when making quinoa stove-top.
Breakfast quinoa never gets old, because there are so many fun toppings to choose from! Initially, I stuck mostly with a spoonful of nut butter, with the occasional preserves or jam mixed in. However, I’ve gotten quite a bit of inspiration from Kath’s Tribute to Oatmeal for more fun toppings! For example, I crumbled Goji Gourmet cookies over the quinoa, and added a few chocolate chips… it was heavenly!
Other recent topping combinations:
Rocky Road Quinoa. Cocoa powder, walnuts, and mini marshmallows!