QUINOA. Say it with me now: Keeeeen-wah.
Have you tried it? Have you ever had one of those grocery market deli counter pasta salads with the little crunchy balls in it and you didn’t quite know what they were? Yeah, that was probably quinoa.
Quinoa is a protein-packed grain similar perhaps to couscous (in shape/size). It starts out looking like seeds, then you cook it like rice and it puffs up, evolving into tiny balls.
After my mom and I took a cooking class at the Co-op, they gave us gift certificates to the actual grocery store part of the Co-op and we had a grand ol’ time scouring the bulk bins. While my mom went for a bunch of freshly ground spices that we had learned about in the class, I went straight to the quinoa and scooped up a pound or 2, which has lasted me all the way until this month!
I used to only make cold salads with quinoa, but when I bought that huge sack of it at the Co-op, I decided to branch out. Here are some ways I’ve prepared it. I’m sorry these photos are abysmal…they are iPhone photos and I have a broken hand!! Give a sister a break!
Quinoa-Stuffed Zucchini Boats
First, scoop out the insides of a zucchini (I like to partially cook it to make this easier). Then, chop up those insides and mix ’em with cooked quinoa, dried herbs, and diced veggies. I used onions and mushrooms, and topped it all with parmesan before wrapping it in foil and tossing it on the grill.
Voila! I made these as part of my dad’s Father’s Day meal and he & I nommed them all up!
Grilled Corn + Cheddar Quinoa from How Sweet Eats
Holy crapballs in heaven this was good. Like, this is the only picture I got because I had already taken a bite and wanted to put the rest in my FACE-good. I made some changes, like adding chopped red onion because I’m obsessed with the crunch, and I stirred in chopped cilantro. But I can’t believe how incredibly the warm quinoa, grilled corn, and white cheddar all melted together. So SO good.
Southwestern Quinoa Salad
This cold salad that I made with leftover quinoa from the above dish was a perfect dinner for our 102 degree weather yesterday: no heat involved! I combined everything you see above, plus some cilantro, and I made my own zingy cumin vinaigrette. (1 tbs red wine vinegar, 1/2 tbs olive oil, pinch of cumin, touch of dijon)…it seriously hit the spot. Plus, it was low in fat and high in fiber & protein, thanks to the beans and quinoa!
What do you do with quinoa? Any other fun recipe ideas?