Cooking Challenge: Making Quinoa

by - Friday, September 17, 2010

I've had a box of quinoa sitting in my pantry for a few months now because I just wasn't sure what I wanted to do with it.


This week I decided it was time to give it a try.

Quinoa has a very grainy, kind of Earthy taste. It also packs quite the nutritional punch. It's gluten free and contains tons of protein.

From Wikipedia:
In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source among plant foods.[5] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.

I decided to try a quinoa salad.

I prepared the grain with water according to the instructions on the package. It only took about 10 or 15 minutes.


While the quinoa was cooking, I chopped three fresh red peppers from the farmer's market and combine them in a big bowl with spinach and chickpeas.



I spooned a generous helping of quinoa over the veggies.


What really made this meal was the olive oil and balsamic vinegar I drizzled on top of everything.

For my birthday two of my friends bought me an EOO and vinegar set from Williams & Sonoma.



Hands down it this was the best balsamic vinegar I'd ever tasted.

I loved adding the quinoa to the salad. It added a nice extra crunch and packed in some extra protein. It was a delicious change of pace from my regular salads.

What's your favorite quinoa recipe? I want to learn what else I can do with this grain!

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