Quin-What?

16 Jan

By now I trust that you’ve made the Quinoa & Black Bean Chili.

You haven’t?! Well what are you waiting for?

There can only be three possible reasons for not making this recipe yet:

A. You don’t know what quinoa is let alone how to pronounce it or locate it in the grocery store.

B. You’ve had quinoa before and didn’t like it.

C. You haven’t gone grocery shopping for the week.

If you have selected C then I forgive you. If you’ve selected A or B let’s clear the air so we can start talking about more quinoa recipes.

So What The Heck Is Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a pseudo-grain. What’s a pseudo-grain? I have no idea, you’ll have to google that on your own. If you find out the answer please share with your friends, you’ll look very smart… my gift to you. Anyhow, quinoa gets a lot of hype because it is a complete protein and touted as a super food. For your purposes you should treat quinoa like any grain you have in your pantry, with one exception – you only need to cook it for 15-20 minutes (not 45-60 minutes like brown rice).  Frankly, it’s delicious and great for weeknight meals.

But I’ve Tried Quinoa Before And I Don’t Like It

My rule is that you should try something at least three times before writing it off completely. Perhaps you cooked quinoa in water without any salt, pepper, vegetables, or other seasonings. Well no wonder you didn’t like it, that sounds awful. Perhaps your girlfriend/boyfriend cooked it for you, chances are they were trying the recipe for the first time and needed some practice.  Clearly, I have no idea why you don’t like it, but I think you should give it another chance.

Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way let’s talk about how you can use up any leftover quinoa you may have after trying the chili.

This is by far one of my top ten favorite recipes. It is so amazing that I often bring leftovers to a friend of mine who has no interest in giving up meat. She loves it!

Quinoa Stuffed Peppers (adapted from Vegetarian Times)

1/2 onion, diced

1 rib celery, diced

1/2 Tbsp cumin

1 garlic clove, minced

5 oz frozen chopped spinach, thawed and squeezed dry

15 oz canned diced tomato, drained (reserve liquid)

15 oz canned black beans, rinsed & drained

1/4+ 1/8  cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 large carrot, grated

2 large red bell peppers, halved with ribs and seeds removed

Preheat oven 350F. Pour reserved tomato liquid into the bottom of a baking dish.

Saute onion and celery in water until soft.

Add cumin and garlic, saute 30 seconds.

Add spinach and drained tomatoes. Cook until most of the liquid has evaporated, approx. 5 minutes.

Stir in beans, quinoa, carrots, and water.

Cover pot, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer. Simmer 20 minutes. Season with salt and pepper.

Fill each pepper with quinoa mixture and place in baking dish. Cover with foil and bake 1 hour.

Mmmm! I wish I made a double batch, I could really go for a stuffed pepper right now.

Quinoa and black beans were a match made in savory heaven, but I bet you are wondering if quinoa is good for breakfast. Yup!

Quinoa Berry Breakfast (adapted from Oh She Glows recipe)

1/2 cup quinoa

1 cup water

1 bag of frozen mixed berries, defrosted (approx. 3 cups)

2 Tbsp maple syrup

1 tsp balsamic vinegar

1 Tbsp lemon juice

pinch kosher salt

1/2 cup silvered almonds

1/4 cup shredded coconut (unsweetened)

2 Tbsp chia seeds

1 Tbsp cocoa nibs

Cook quinoa in water in a small saucepan for 15-20 minutes.

Whisk together maple syrup, balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, and salt. Set aside.

Place quinoa in a bowl and fluff with a fork. Add in berries then top with dressing and mix.

Add almonds, coconut, chia seeds, and cocoa nibs. Combine thoroughly.

Serve as is or chilled.

This is a great post workout meal and will keep your belly satisfied until lunch time. As if that wasn’t enough of a reason to give it a try I’d like to encourage you to customize this recipe to meet your own tastes or nutritional needs.

Well I hope that you will feel confident to go out into the world and start cooking with quinoa.

~ Happy & Healthy Eating

*If you already love quinoa like I do please share your favorite recipes, I am always looking for new ways to utilize this protein powerhouse.

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One Response to “Quin-What?”

  1. CBZ January 16, 2012 at 8:29 PM #

    I have been described as a fuss-pot which I admit to 🙂 That being said, Trader Joe’s offers a lot of unique foods that I have been tempted to try and have enjoyed 90% of my puchases. Based on this post, I would recommend Trader Joe’s Harvest Grains Blend. It features Israeli couscous, along with red and green orzo, split dried garbanzo beans, and red quinoa. Yum!

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