Magical Quinoa

Quinoa: A Delicious, Healthy Addition to your Kitchen

Quinoa is a grain-like crop that originated in the Andean region of South America over 6,000 years ago. Today it is appreciated for its nutritional value, and can be used instead of rice or couscous as part of a meal. Unlike rice or wheat, quinoa has a balanced set of essential amino acids, and its high protein content (12%-18%) makes it a smart choice for vegans and vegetarians. It is gluten-free, a good source of fiber, and it is high in magnesium and iron.

So what’s the catch? I really can’t think of one! Besides being super healthy, it tastes great, and is fast to cook (you can just use your rice cooker or stovetop method with the same 2:1 proportions you would use water to rice).
I usually use quinoa with black beans and any leftover vegetables I need to use to make what we call “Quinoa and Black Bean Bowls.” Top it off with a few slices of avocado, some salsa and a little bit of low fat sour cream or plain yogurt, these are a healthy, yummy, quick dinner.

Here is another recipe idea from Gourmet Magazine:

Black-Bean and Tomato Quinoa

2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup quinoa
1 (14- to 15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Whisk together lime zest and juice, oil, sugar, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4teaspoon pepper in a large bowl.
Wash quinoa in 3 changes of cold water in a bowl, draining in a sieve each time.
Cook quinoa in a medium pot of boiling salted water (1 tablespoon salt for 2 quarts water), uncovered, until almost tender, about 10 minutes. Drain in sieve, then set sieve in same pot with 1 inch of simmering water (water should not touch bottom of sieve). Cover quinoa with a folded kitchen towel, then cover sieve with a lid (don’t worry if lid doesn’t fit tightly) and steam over medium heat until tender, fluffy, and dry, about 10 minutes. Remove pot from heat and remove lid. Let stand, still covered with towel, 5 minutes (you can eliminate this step by simply using a rice cooker).

Add quinoa to dressing and toss until dressing is absorbed, then stir in remaining ingredients and salt and pepper to taste (and I like to top with avocado and salsa).

Enjoy! –  Josie