HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT THIS NEWEST POWER-GRAIN ON THE MARKET YET?
I had heard of quinoa (pronounced KEEN-WAA) in all the "health food" circles, but had never tried it for myself. Now, though, I've tried it several different ways, and I LOVE the simplicity of this grain, the numerous and incredible benefits all packed into one tiny seed, and the variety I can use in preparing it!
Turns out, this tasty super food isn't new at all, as it was enjoyed by the Incas in ancient times, and other native South Americans, where they dubbed it the "mother of all grains!"
One of the reasons I held off in trying quinoa was because of all the fuss in the foodie circles about the "high cost" of it compared to rice and other more common household grains. I've got a solution for that, too! With some careful planning and watching, I get quinoa at the neighborhood health food markets for as little as $3 a pound. You just have to watch for it to go on sale and buy more of it then. It is usually cheaper sold in bulk, instead of prepackaged.
(Update: Costco is a great place to get it at a lower price in bulk as well!)
HERE'S HOW TO MAKE IT:
Prepare quinoa by boiling 1/2 cup of the grains with 3/4 to 1 cup of water or broth (for extra flavor!) It only takes about 12 minutes, with the pot covered, and at a soft boil, for the grain to be completely cooked.
It stays a wonderful slightly crunchy-chewy consistency for even up to a few days after cooking! I try to cook enough for another meal or two after the first one where I serve it fresh. It is so tasty leftover, added to a fresh salad as a protein-rich topper. (One of the top benefits of this grain is the high amount of lean protein found in it - 8 grams in a cup of it!)
Here are two ideas for quinoa recipes you can try for your own family:
ORANGE & ALMOND QUINOA RECIPE
1 cup cooked quinoa
1 fresh orange (peeled, separated into bite size sections)
handful toasted, sliced almonds
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp ground pepper
1/2 cup fresh-squeezed orange juice
garnish - sliced green onions
Cook quinoa and fluff. Add almonds, orange sections, salt & pepper. Toss together. Squeeze 1/4 cup fresh orange juice over and toss again to coat.
CILANTRO LEMON QUINOA RECIPE
1 cup cooked quinoa
1/2 fresh lemon
handful toasted pine nuts
1/4 - 1/2 cup chopped cilantro
Cook quinoa and fluff. Squeeze lemon juice over grain, and stir in pine nuts and cilantro. Toss together with sprinkling of salt and pepper to taste.
These dishes make a wonderful side to fish, chicken or as a vegetarian main dish with steamed or sauteed vegetables on the side.