Spotlight On: Quiona

Stole this photo from OrganicJar.com

This may look like rice or something, but it’s not, it’s quinoa! What is quinoa? Well, that’s where it gets a little fuzzy. You see, it’s generally thought to be a grain, but according to The World’s Healthiest Foods website, it’s actually related to leafy green vegetables. Who would have thought?

Anyhow, a few days ago a friend of mine asked about different quinoa recipes and it got me to thinking how much I missed quinoa. I used to eat it a lot, but the last time I ran out it took me forever to restock. But alas, not too long ago I remembered to pick some up while I was at Trader Joe’s. I just so happened to decide to make quinoa stuffed bell peppers for lunch on Friday. I didn’t have any specific recipe, but I bought a soy chorizo (also from Trader Joe’s) and I knew that it would give the quinoa a good flavor.

So I just sautéed garlic, onion, minced carrot and diced green bell pepper then added the soy chorizo. While that was cooking, I cooked the quinoa.  Even though it is actually related to leafy vegetables, people think it’s a grain cause it acts a lot like rice. So I cook it the same way I cook rice (which is on the stove since I don’t have a rice cooker), except I use veggie broth instead of water to give it a little more flavor. Once the quinoa was done, I added it to the soy chorizo and sautéed vegetables and threw in a few chopped Roma tomatoes. After cooking everything together long enough for all the flavors to mix, I just spooned it all into a bell pepper that had been steaming while I was preparing everything else. I must say it turned out pretty darn good. That was lunch on Friday.

For dinner on Saturday, I made roasted vegetable over quinoa. The night before, I tried a roasted eggplant recipe that was delicious so I wanted to try without using a recipe. Instead of using olive oil, garlic and basil like I did for the eggplant recipe, I mixed garlic, lemon juice and Italian seasoning then poured it over the left over eggplant, a few Roma tomatoes, green bell pepper and stuck it into the broiler. I cooked it for a few minutes then flipped the eggplant around and cooked it for a little longer. While everything was in the broiler, I cooked quinoa seasoned with a little Garlic & Herb Mrs. Dash. Once it was all done, I put it in the bowl. The veggies were a little too lemony and wouldn’t have been that good on their own, but quinoa tempered the lemon and soaked up some of the juices from the tomato so it worked out well together.

Then today, I made a pecan quinoa and had it with French style green beans for my mid-evening snack. The pecan quinoa was a recipe that I saw in one of my food books. It was pretty simple and straight forward. I just sautéed garlic then added quinoa, veggie broth, chopped up parsley, white pepper and pecans and cooked it until I didn’t see too many little white spots in the middle of the quinoa (if you’ve cooked it before you know what I’m talking about).  I just steamed the green beans and seasoned them with various Mrs. Dash flavors, some white pepper and a little Himalayan pink salt (more minerals than table salt).

So that was my weekend with quinoa. I’d say me and quinoa had a good time. As a side note, my mom loves this stuff. Every time she and I have a conversation about food, she brings up quinoa and how much she likes it. And with good reason. I think I’ve read that it’s the only non-animal complete protein. It’s also a good source of other good stuff.

See?

If you’re interested in trying quinoa out, you can try substituting it in any recipe that uses rice or you can try one of the suggestions on SavvyVegetarian.com

Happy Eating!

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