Ancient Grain: How to Enjoy Quinoa

Quinoa In recent years, ancient grains have seen a surge in popularity. They started appearing in the health aisle of grocery stores and many health companies have  jumped on the bandwagon to satisfy the increasing need for healthier options. One of...

Quinoa
Quinoa

In recent years, ancient grains have seen a surge in popularity. They started appearing in the health aisle of grocery stores and many health companies have  jumped on the bandwagon to satisfy the increasing need for healthier options. One of the more popular ancient grains is quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah). High in protein, iron and fiber, quinoa makes  a good replacement for traditional forms of carbohydrates such as white rice, potatoes and bread. Even brown rice plays second fiddle in the presence of quinoa.

If you’re thinking of including this superfood (justly called due to its high nutrients), here is an easy way to get started. From one basic recipe, you can easily play up the flavors or increase the nutritional benefits by adding other nutrient-dense foods. The possibility is endless. Let’s begin at the beginning.

Easy Quinoa Pilaf

Ingredients:

  • 1 ½ cup of quinoa (rinsed with water and drained)
  • 2 tbs of unsalted butter
  • 1 ¾ cup of water (or broth)
  • Salt and pepper to taste

Directions:

  1. Toss quinoa in a medium saucepan over medium heat. You will hear quinoa popping. Stir frequently for about 5 minutes to allow quinoa to pop and release flavor.
  2. Add water and bring to a boil and then add butter.
  3. Lower heat and simmer for 15 to 20 minutes, covered. Stir once or twice to prevent quinoa from sticking to the bottom of the pan.
  4. Turn off heat when quinoa is tender and all the liquid is absorbed.
  5. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes (covered) before fluffing it with a fork.

You can enjoy this basic quinoa pilaf as it is with a side of protein and vegetables. Or you can increase its flavor by adding a variety of other ingredients.

Quinoa with vegetables and tofu
Quinoa with vegetables and tofu

  • Herbs

Fresh herbs add zest and spunk. Take your favorite herbs and chop them fine. Examples include basil, thyme, marjoram, sage, parsley or green onion. When the quinoa is cooked, stir in the chopped herbs and let it sit for the required 10 minutes before serving.

  • Beans and Nuts

The nutty flavor of quinoa combines well with a variety of beans and nuts. It will also augment the nutritional value of the dish as beans and nuts are nutrient dense and rich in fiber. Once the quinoa is cooked, toss in beans and nuts and add more salt and pepper if needed.

  • Spices

You can easily transform a basic dish into an exotic dish by using the appropriate spices. Feel like Caribbean tonight? Consider nutmeg, all spice, paprika, ginger and cloves among others. No, you prefer Mediterranean? Reach for some oregano, basil, marjoram, cumin and garlic. Or kick it up with Indian spices such as curry and turmeric. You dream it, spices can execute it.

  • Vegetables and Fruits

You can never go wrong with vegetables. Toss in parsley, tomatoes, cucumber, onion, lemon juice and mint and you’ve a version of quinoa tabouli. Add tomatoes, cilantro, onion, lime juice, jalapeno and you’ve Mexican-infused quinoa. Add bak choy, bean sprouts, cubes of tofu, some soy and sesame oil and you don’t have to call for Chinese takeout.

Your basic quinoa pilaf can get as creative as your taste buds take you. For more information on how to enjoy quinoa, contact us. We also carry a wide selection of kitchenware and spices to make your culinary adventures a total blast in the kitchen.