Tag: how to make quinoa taste good

How to Make Quinoa Taste Delicious: My Favorite Recipes!

In my post the other day, I shared the secret to cooking perfect quinoa every time. No more overcooked mush!

Knowing how to cook quinoa by itself is great, but for many of us, eating it plain has been our only experience with this little super seed. When we think of quinoa we think “bland, boring, and tasteless.”

It doesn’t have to be this way! Today I’m going to share how we make quinoa dishes taste delicious.

Quinoa with roasted red onions, carrots, white sweet potatoes and garlic with Swiss chard

Quinoa with roasted red onions, carrots, white sweet potatoes and garlic with Swiss chard

Here is my favorite way to prepare quinoa.¬†It’s not super technical (i.e., no measurements – AHH!), but that’s okay. Part of the FUN of cooking is experimenting and giving yourself permission to not follow so many stinkin’ rules ūüôā

  1. Cook one cup of it. It expands to 3-4 times its size so 1 cup dry = 3-4 cups cooked.
  2. Chop & roast some veggies (I love using red and vidalia onions, garlic, carrots and sweet potatoes or butternut squash, broccoli and cauliflower are great, too!). A few pinches of thyme, rosemary, and/or sage give roasted veggies great flavor. Use whatever veggies, herbs and spices YOU like!
  3. Chop up some greens (kale, Swiss chard, spinach, etc.).
  4. Put the quinoa and roasted veggies in a large skillet or saute pan on the stove and turn heat to medium-low.
  5. Add the greens. Toss everything together for a few minutes with tongs until the greens cook down but are still bright. Add a few splashes of water or veggie broth to prevent sticking/drying out.
  6. Remove from heat and squeeze the juice of 1/2 Р1 whole lemon or splash raw apple cider vinegar over the mixture and stir (acid = bite/flavor!).
  7. Top with toasted nuts/seeds (I like pecans, pumpkin seeds, walnuts and pine nuts), and for something sweet, dried cranberries or raisins.
  8. Add 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil (you may need more) as well as sea salt and pepper to your liking.
Quinoa with roasted butternut squash, yellow onion, and garlic with toasted pecans and kale

Quinoa with roasted butternut squash, yellow onion, and garlic with toasted pecans and kale

For anyone who likes to follow recipes with numbers in them, check out the yummy ideas below for some seasonal quinoa dishes! We made the first one this week for dinner ūüôā

Roasted Sweet Potato, Kale & Quinoa Skillet¬†– This is a perfect, warming winter dish. We cooked it in our cast iron skillet¬†and made a few changes to the recipe. Roasting whole sweet potatoes in the oven took a long time, so next time, we’ll chop them up, toss them in some coconut oil, salt and pepper and roast them in the oven for 30-40 minutes at 400F. Also, we added a few squeezes of lemon juice and some toasted pumpkin seeds to the dish just before serving, and it was delicious!

Quinoa with Caramelized Butternut Squash & Roasted Brussels Sprouts¬†– These are a few of my absolute favorite things ūüôā

Quinoa Fried Rice¬†– Bill and I prepare variations of this all the time. We throw in whatever veggies we have on hand, so don’t feel like you’re stuck with this recipe as is – modify it to include your favorites!

Super Simple Quinoa & Sweet Potato Chili¬†–¬†Is it time to change up your chili recipe? Give this one a try!

I have lots of other quinoa recipes on my Pinterest boards, so check them out!

Roasted sweet potato, quinoa and kale skillet

Roasted sweet potato, quinoa and kale skillet. Yum!

The Secrets to Cooking Perfect Quinoa…Revealed!

Quinoa is everywhere these days.

Popping up in funny¬†Miller Lite commercials¬†in the form of “queen-o” burgers.

Receiving props worldwide with 2013 being deemed “The International Year of Quinoa.” (Seriously, there is such a thing!)

And showing up on grocery store shelves in everything from cereals to snack foods.

All the while driving people crazy with its less than phonetic spelling!

Here are some fun facts about this hearty little seed:

  • It’s pronounced “KEEN-wah.”
  • It’s technically a seed¬†or pseudocereal and is¬†harvested from a plant related to beets and spinach.
  • It comes in a variety of colors (red, white, black, orange, brown, pink, pale yellow).
  • It’s a complete protein (contains all 9 essential amino acids) and is¬†packed with nutrients like calcium, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.
  • There is a naturally occurring, bitter outer coating on quinoa called saponin that needs to be rinsed off prior to eating, otherwise it will be bitter.
  • It doesn’t contain gluten, the sticky protein found in barley, rye, wheat, and a few other grains, so it is safe for people with gluten sensitivities or intolerances.
  • Swap it out to replace rice or couscous to change up your recipes.

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Where do you buy quinoa?

I buy a big 4 pound bag for $10-$15 at BJs Wholesale Club, and it lasts for months. You can find it cheap at Trader Joe’s¬†and in the bulk section of grocery stores like Wegmans and Whole Foods¬†as well as in natural food stores like MOMs and Roots Market. All major grocery stores sell it these days, but it’s cheaper to buy it in bulk at the stores above or wholesale clubs than in a box at Safeway.

Want to know the secrets to cooking perfect quinoa every time? Follow these steps!

  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups water or low sodium vegetable stock (some people find using a little less liquid – 1.75 cups – works well, too, but I’ve always used two!)
  • Pinch of sea salt

Optional ingredient: Instead of sea salt, use a thumb-size piece of kombu (you find this seaweed online or at any of the stores listed above). When you add kombu to grains (and beans) while cooking them, it infuses them with minerals, makes the grain more digestible, and reduces acidity and gas!

  1. Rinse and drain the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer until the water runs clear. This gets rid of the bitter coating, so it is an important step!
  2. Put the rinsed quinoa, water and salt (or kombu, if using) in a pot.
  3. Cover and bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to a low simmer and cook for about 15 minutes.
  4. DO NOT STIR THE QUINOA WHILE IT IS COOKING.¬†It will not cook properly if you do.¬†If you want to check on it, just remove the lid and tilt the pot a little – if the water hasn’t been absorbed, keep simmering.
  5. When all the water is absorbed and the curly white tail¬†“pops” off the quinoa, you know it’s done!
  6. Remove the pot from the heat, and discard the kombu (if using).
  7. Fluff quinoa with a fork. Let it cool slightly (10-15 minutes) before serving.

For the more visual learners, check out this one-minute video that shows you how to cook quinoa!

Unfortunately, many people’s first experience with this nutrient-packed seed is eating it plain, and they are often so scarred by that experience that they never to try it again.

I love quinoa, but¬†I don’t like plain quinoa it’s boring and bland!

In my next post, I’ll be sharing my favorite way to prepare this super seed along with a few other delicious recipes, so stay tuned! Hooray for no more boring quinoa! ūüôā

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