I’m addicted to Quinoa

Quinoa?  Yes Please!  Quinoa is considered a super grain, it contains more quality protein than any other grain and provides all the essential amino acids.  It is a light tasty grain that is easy to digest with six grams of fiber per serving it is filling but not heavy like other grains and pastas and the best part is it’s easy to prepare and can be incorporated in hundreds of different recipes for any meal, even breakfast.

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Here are just a few of my favorite Quinoa Recipes.  (Tip for all of them except breakfast recipes, cook the quinoa in chicken broth or vegetable broth to add even more flavor)

Southwestern Quinoa Salad:Southwest Quinoa

I made this for a summer pool party and I just kind of threw it together from ingredients I had on hand.  It turned out so yummy and was a huge hit.

Ingredients I used (As always sub with anything you have on hand or like better)

1 finely diced Red onion

1 can sweet or white corn (sub 3-4 fresh roasted if you have the time!!)
1 can black beans
1 – 2 finely chopped Jalapenos (Like a kick? Leave the seeds)
1/2 a cup of chopped fresh cilantro (more or less depending on how much you like it)
1 diced red bell pepper
2 diced avocados
1 cup Quinoa
1/2 cup Red Quinoa (optional)
3 cups chicken broth
2 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
Fresh Lime Juice to taste (if you like it very limey add some zest too)
Balsamic Vinaigrette to taste

**I buy Ancient Quinoa Harvest Brand which you do not have to rinse and I can readily find in my supermarket. However, if you buy unwashed Quinoa you need to rinse it in a fine sieve to remove the bitter flavor**

Prepare:
~Place the chicken broth and Quinoa in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to a low simmer and cover, cooking for approximately 20 minutes or until tender.
~While the Quinoa is cooking chop all other ingredients and put in a large bowl
~Let the Quinoa cool before adding to the other ingredients. When it is cooled mix all ingredients together. Squeeze the juice from 1 and 1/2 limes on to the quinoa mixtures and then lightly drizzle the Balsamic.
**I added the balsamic as an after thought and sparingly, but I really liked the added flavor**
**Next time I make this I’m going to add garlic salt.

~I buy the regular Quinoa and Red Quinoa, they taste the same I just like the pop of color.

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A-S-K Quinoa Sautee (small)

Sauteed Spinach and Quinoa 

This is a great simple side to go along with any grilled meats or whatever else you might be enjoying, however I like it as my main meal.

Ingredients

1 small white onion finely diced
2 cloves garlic (use a garlic press if you have one or finely chop the garlic cloves)
3/4 cup sliced cherry tomatoes (I use red and yellow)
2 – 3 cups fresh spinach leaves
1 lemon
2 tbls olive oil
1 tsp salt
2 tsp pepper
1 cup Quinoa (I use 1/2 c regular and 1/2 c red quinoa)
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Directions:
Place the Quinoa and Chicken Broth in a medium sauce pan and bring to a boil
Reduce to a low simmer and cook for approximately 15 minutes or until tender

Meanwhile in another large skillet saute the diced onion in approx. 2 tlbs olive oil. When the onion is sweating and translucent add the chopped garlic and cook another two minutes being careful not to burn the garlic, add the tomatoes and cook for a minute or so, then add the Spinach, it will start out as a lot so you’ll need a big enough pan, but it quickly cooks down.
When the Quinoa is finished add it to the spinach mixture and toss. Add the zest of one lemon and juice of half of the lemon, salt and pepper. Enjoy.
***You can add anything you like to this, other veggies, spices, etc. I will often add red pepper flakes and sometimes diced red bell pepper. Use whatever you have and like.

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Latin Quinoa

This is very similar to the Soutwester Quinoa Salad, but this one is served warm.

1 Small Diced Red Onion
2 Minced Garlic Cloves
1 can diced green chilis
3/4 cup sliced cherry tomatoes
1 diced and seeded jalepano
1 diced red bell pepper
1 diced yellow bell pepper
3/4 cup chopped cilantro
1 small can white corn
1 can rinsed black beans
1 lime (zest and juice)
1/2 cup Pine Nuts (toasted) (sub pumpkin seeds, slivered almonds or any other seed or nut you love…Pistachios would be really good)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tblsp Red Pepper Flakes (optional)
1 cup Quinoa
2 cups chicken or vegetable broth

Directions:
In a small skillet toast the pine nuts for a couple of minutes, watching carefully not to burn them.
Bring Quinoa and Broth to boil in a medium saucepan and then reduce heat to simmer for 15 minutes or until tender.
Meanwhile saute diced onion in 2 tablespoons olive oil over medium high heat until sweating or translucent, add garlic and cook a couple more minutes, then add bell peppers. Cook the peppers with the onion until tender, be careful not to burn onion and garlic, stirring regularly. Add the tomatoes and saute for a minute or two then add chilis, black beans and corn, and toasted nuts
Add the cooked Quinoa and gently mix together ingredients. Finish with the lime juice, zest and salt and pepper, and fluff with a fork before serving.

Make this into a meal
You can really kick this dish up anyway you want. I recently made this dish and added ground sausage and ground beef to it and then stuffed in bell peppers. It was delicious and enjoyed by the whole family.
I used 1/2 a pound of ground sausage and 1/2 a pound of ground beef seasoned with just salt and pepper. I then added the meat to the quinoa mixture and mixed in a cup of Parmesan cheese. (I had this on hand, but to keep with the Latin theme you might use Cotija instead). I then took the top off of 3 red, 3 yellow and 2 orange bell peppers, removed all seeds and membranes and rinsed. Then I boiled the peppers for a couple of minutes in a dutch oven. Finally I stuffed the peppers placed in a rectangle pan sprinkled more of the cheese on top and baked covered in a 350 degree oven for about 20 minutes, uncovering for the last five.

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