Have you ever bought something at the grocery store without really knowing what to do with it? I know I have, especially when it comes to grains like quinoa, millet and farro. These grains are much more versatile than you may think once you know a little something about them and they're good for you. They're a great addition to soups, salads or in place of rice or pasta.
Here's a quick guide to quinoa so the next time you come across it at the grocery store you'll know exactly what to do with it.
How to pronounce: keen-wah
Similar to: couscous or rice
How to cook: 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water.
Place one cup of rinsed quinoa and two cups water in large saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Makes 2 cups of cooked quinoa.
Nutritional Value: As a complete protein, it contains all eight of the essential amino acids and is packed with dietary fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.
My most recent favorite is Bon Appetit's recipes for quinoa, chickpea and spinach salad with smoked paprika dressing. With a delicious combination of flavors and plenty of ingredients, this is a great main course salad. The mint, feta cheese and smoked paprika dressing is what makes it especially good.
Another good one is this recipe for quinoa stir-fry with grilled chicken and vegetables.
BBC Good Food has this stunning recipe for quinoa, herb and pomegranate salad.
and Martha Stewart has quinoa and apple salad with curry dressing.
Or, for something a little different, quinoa also makes a great warm breakfast cereal. Try the recipe below for breakfast quinoa with blueberries. The recipe can easily be doubled and saved, reheated for the next day's breakfast.
Breakfast Quinoa with Blueberries (serves 2)
1/2 cup quinoa
1 cup whole milk (or half milk, half water)
1/2 mango, cubed
1/2 cup blueberries
1 tablespoons maple syrup or brown sugar
2 tablespoons flax seeds
Bring milk to a simmer in a small saucepan. Add quinoa and cover. Reduce heat to low, and simmer until three-quarters of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
Stir in maple syrup or brown sugar and cinnamon. Cover and continue cooking for another five minutes or until almost all the milk has been absorbed. Add a touch more milk if you need to. Stir in flax seeds, blueberries and mango. Serve with additional milk, cinnamon and blueberries.