Quinoa isn’t rare these days, but I can’t go A-Z and skip it!  It’s such a useful element to any chef’s pantry.  The texture took me a little getting used to, but it’s well worth getting used to if you’re in the same spot.  Since quinoa is grain-like, and a little like couscous in size, it’s extremely useful for making a nice hearty salad out of, or for serving under a great stir-fry, instead of rice perhaps.

Pretty. :)
Image courtesy of Creative Commons, original here.

So what is quinoa, and why use it?  Quinoa is a seed that isn’t actually in the cereal family but can act as a grain in recipes, and is known as a “pseudocereal.”  It originated in the Andean regions of South America, and has served as a staple of the diet there for thousands of years.  It is one of the plant foods that is a complete protein, containing all of the essential amino acids.  1 cup of quinoa has 8 grams of protein, 5 grams of fiber, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, and a good percentage of your daily needs for magnesium, phosphorous, potassium, manganese, copper, iron, thiamin, riboflavin, B6, folate….  So… eat your quinoa!  It’s good for you!  :)


Quick notes:

First – You can find hundreds of recipes online for quinoa.  Do a quick Google search and you’ll be overwhelmed with things to try.  Go for it and experiment!  This is a great one to expand your recipe horizons a bit.

Second – This is also a great one to try your hand at playing with you can make up yourself.  Some cooked quinoa plus some veggies, plus a nice dressing… magic!  I’ll bet anything with that combination would be amazing, and you’ll be so proud of yourself for coming up with something wonderful.  Let me know what you create!

Here are some options that I found that I will have to try soon:

1. As we head into winter, this dish seems perfect for the colder months: Andean Bean Stew with Winter Squash and Quinoa 

2. Or if you want to recall summer instead… Strawberry-Avocado Quinoa Salad :)

3. And of course you always need dessert… :)
Puffed Quinoa Peanut Butter Balls


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