I don’t know how or why I have stayed away from this grain. I recently tried quinoa and I’m in love! I have so many ideas as to how to begin incorporating it into everyday dishes.
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is considered to be a “superfood.” Nutritionally, it’s a very complete food. It is:
- Very high in protein
- Full of vitamins
- Gluten- and wheat-free
Quinoa comes from a plant native to the Andes Mountains in South America and has been around for thousands of years. It contains more protein than any other grain and should be considered for vegetarians or vegans who might be concerned about the level of protein in their diets.
What does it look like? It’s a tiny round grain with a band around it that ends with a tiny “tail.” As it cooks, the tail unwinds and detaches itself, leaving a white ring on the grain.
There are several different varieties of quinoa and it is available in grain, flour, and flakes. Once relegated to health food stores, you can find it just about anywhere now.
Substitute quinoa in any dish calling for rice, couscous, or even pasta. It can also be used in soups, salads, baking, and even in sweets.
One method of cooking quinoa is to treat it as you would rice. Use two cups liquid (water, chicken/vegetable broth) to one cup of quinoa, bring to a boil, lower the heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes. Add herbs and seasoning as desired in order to make a variety of dishes.
I’ve made a few very simple savory dishes using quinoa. At some point, though, I will also try some more complex ones, as well as a sweet dish/dessert and will post the results. Hence the name of this article. 🙂
The other night, I made for dinner quinoa with roasted chicken, tomatoes, onions, parsley, and chives. Totally healthy…and delish.
Last night, I made some chicken, and as a side I made the dish below. It serves 4 as a main dish, or you can halve the recipe as I did, and it will serve 4 as a nice side dish.
Stuffed Peppers with Olives and Tomatoes
(Serves 4 as a main dish)
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed and drained
- 2 cups water
- 4 peppers (green, red, yellow, or orange)
- 1 medium red onion, chopped
- 3 cloves garlic, finely chopped
- 3 tomatoes, squeezed of pulp and chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh parsley, chopped
- 3 tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- 10 Kalamata olives, pitted and chopped
- Sea salt, to taste
- Black pepper, to taste
- Extra virgin olive oil
Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Place the quinoa in a saucepan with the water. Bring to a boil, then reduce heat, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes until all of the water is absorbed.
Cut the peppers in half, lengthwise. Remove seeds and membranes.
In a bowl, mix together the cooked quinoa, onion, garlic, tomatoes, parsley, cilantro, olives, salt and pepper. Spoon the mixture evenly into the peppers and place in a baking dish. Pour about 1/2 inch of water on the bottom of the baking dish. Drizzle olive oil over the peppers.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until the quinoa stuffing is golden brown and the peppers are soft.