Today’s post was inspired by a couple of my readers and blogging friends Karen and Sharon. Check out their blogs by clicking on their names, they are gifted writers who are on a path to improving their health! They both asked if I had any Quinoa recipes to share. Oh, yes I do!
There has been a lot of buzz on the internet and blogs about this ancient grain. First lets clear up some confusion with it’s name, it is pronounced “KEEN-wah.” The ancient Incas called it the Mother Grain and they knew what they were talking about!
Quinoa, which is actually a small dried seed, has been cultivated for thousands of years in South America. Quinoa has the highest protein content of any other grain. It contains all eight essential amino acids making it a complete protein. It also delivers fiber, iron, magnesium, calcium and vitamins A and E. The most readily available is the cream colored. There is also a red quinoa which is suppose to be crunchier but a little more bitter and a black quinoa.
What does it taste like? Slightly nutty with kind of a crunchy texture depending on how long you cook it. It’s mild flavor makes it a perfect substitute for rice, pasta, couscous, bulgur or millet in most recipes. On it’s own it is rather bland so you need to flavor it with spices, herbs and other flavorful ingredients. Oh and it’s gluten free and has a low glycemic index making it a perfect grain for diabetics.
Basic cooking instructions. It cooks pretty much like rice. The brand I buy is pre -washed but if your bag or box does not say pre-washed then you need to put the quinoa in a mesh strainer and run cool water through it. The cooking ratio is one cup of quinoa to 2 cups liquid. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer put the lid on the pan and simmer for 15 minutes. Let sit for 5 minutes and fluff with a fork.
It is not a low calorie food but with all that protein and fiber it is very filling. I first learned about quinoa years ago when Weight Watchers first came out with their Core program that promoted eating more whole grains. I couldn’t find a lot of recipes at that time and the only store that carried it was a Health Food Store. I would cook it on the stove top, let it cool and add in chopped veggies, feta cheese, herbs and a little vinaigrette and serve it chilled as a side dish. Today I can fix it for breakfast, use it in soup or serve it as hot side dish in place of rice or couscous. It is also readily available in most grocery stores in the aisle with rice and other grains. Even Costco and Sam’s club now sell it!
I bought this brand at my Sam’s Club. I was recently in Costco and they also carry Quinoa I don’t remember if it was organic or not. Look for it the next time you are shopping.
Winter weather makes us want something hot and flavorful for breakfast that will make us feel warm and satisfied. My hot apple quinoa breakfast bowl does just that!
My favorite toppings are chopped pecans, a sprinkle of brown sugar and shredded coconut. It’s a little bit like dessert!
Hot Apple Quinoa Breakfast Bowl
- 1/2 cup Quinoa (rinse with water if not pre-washed)
- 1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk (you may substitute your choice of milk, fat free, soy etc.)
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 apple, cored and diced (leave the peel on)
- 3/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon (or to taste, I like a lot of cinnamon)
- pinch of ground cardamon
- freshly ground nutmeg (a pinch or so, I don’t measure)
- 7 drops NuNaturals Vanilla Stevia (or 1/4 – 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract and sweetener of your choice to taste)
- Optional Toppings: brown sugar, nuts, coconut, nut butter, pumpkin butter, apple butter, honey, Agave, or maple syrup.
If your quinoa is not pre washed, place it in a fine mesh sieve and run cold water through it until the water runs clear.
In a medium size sauce pan combine the quinoa, almond milk,water, apple, cinnamon, cardamon and nutmeg, bring it to a boil, turn down heat and simmer for 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is cooked and tender. Remove from heat, divide into two serving dishes. Top with your favorite toppings such as brown sugar, nuts, coconut, nut butter, pumpkin butter, apple butter, honey or maple syrup.
Yield: 2 Servings
(Using unsweetened almond milk )
Per Serving: 234 Calories; 5g Fat (19.2% calories from fat); 6g Protein; 42g Carbohydrate; 6g Dietary Fiber; 0mg Cholesterol; 11mg Sodium.
Old WWP 4 / New WWPP 6
Quinoa is so versatile you can go from making it sweet to enjoy for breakfast to South of the Border with this Mexican inspired Corn and Quinoa Chowder! A recipe at the Vegetarian Times web site was the inspiration for my latest favorite soup. You can see the original recipe here.
This chowder is beautiful and delicious! The spicy heat comes from ground red pepper, cumin seeds, ground cumin and just a dash of Chipotle pepper. Fresh cilantro and lime juice are added at the end taking this chowder from good to outstanding!
Every spoonful brings a little bit of joy to your taste buds and you will be sighing with contentment after finishing a bowl of this warm chowder. Lucky for you, it makes a big pot full and reheats nicely, so you can enjoy the experience all over again the next day!
Mexican Corn and Quinoa Chowder
- 3/4 cup quinoa, washed and drained
- 1 tsp cumin seeds
- 1 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
- 2 1/2 cups canned corn, drained of all liquid (I like Trader Joe’s or Green Giant canned corn the best)
- 1 cup Yukon Gold potatoes, diced (scrubbed but with peel left on)
- 1/4 cup yellow onion, diced
- 1 teaspoon chopped garlic
- 1 large red bell pepper, diced
- 4 cups chicken broth or stock
- 2 cups 1% Milk
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
- 1/8 – 1/4 teaspoon ground cayenne red pepper (to taste)
- dash of ground Chipotle chile pepper (or use chili powder, to taste)
- 1/4 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
- Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
- Lime wedges
In a large pot over a medium heat, toast the quinoa and cumin seeds for 3-4 minutes or until golden and fragrant, stirring constantly so they don’t burn. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.
Heat olive oil in the same pan, add corn, potatoes, onions, bell pepper and garlic, saute 5 minutes or until soft. Add broth and bring to a boil. Stir in quinoa and cumin seeds, reduce heat to meium low, cover and simmer for 10 minutes.
While the mixture simmers, heat up the two cups milk in the microwave just until warm, stir into the soup, add the ground cumin, red pepper, chipotle pepper, cover and let simmer 5 minutes or until quinoa and vegetables are tender.
Stir in cilantro, season with salt and pepper to taste. Ladle into bowls and serve with lime wedges to squeeze into soup at the table.
Serving suggestion: Quesadillas made with low fat cheese, shredded chicken and salsa using whole wheat tortillas.
Yield: 6 Servings Serving Size: Approx 1 1/2 cups
Per Serving : 273 Calories; 7g Fat (23.4% calories from fat); 11g Protein; 43g Carbohydrate; 4g Dietary Fiber; 3mg Cholesterol; 785mg Sodium.
Old WWP 5 / New WWPP 7
I don’t have the nutritional information figured out for this soup yet. (But I think it will be around 270 calories per serving.) Katy called this morning from Spain while I was working on the post. We enjoyed a long conversation but I want to get this post up today so I will come back later and edit the recipe when I have the nutritional information.
Katy made my Beef Barley Soup recipe yesterday but subbed rice for the barley as she hasn’t found barley in Spain yet and she said it turned really good!
I hope these two recipes will get you started using Quinoa or at least spark some ideas for you to get creative subbing it for couscous or rice in one of your own tried and true recipes.
Karen mentioned she would like a healthy recipe for a sweet potato side dish and I will post one soon to share so everyone has time to try it out before the holidays. Thanks to Karen and Sharon for inspiring todays post!
If anyone has any recipe requests leave me a comment and I will try to do a post about it.
Have you tried Qunioa?