I hope, by now, you have at least heard of quinoa… it’s all the rage. For good reason, though!
Quinoa has been around pretty much forever, the Incas actaully harvested it before they harvested grain. It’s typically used like a grain, such as rice, millet, or barley, but it’s actually a seed and is gluten free. I would almost dare to say that it’s my favorite “grain” because it cooks in only 10-15 minutes, contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein, and it has such great flavor and texture on its own, that you almost don’t need anything but some salt and pepper!
There are over 100 varieties of quinoa, but the ones that you will mostly see are gold, red, or black. The most common being the gold, or cream colored variety. It tends to be the most mild flavored out of the three, making it the perfect “all-purpose” quinoa, and the one I will be using for today’s recipe. With that being said, the other two are definitely worth mentiong and trying for yourself! Red quinoa has a slightly crunchier texture than gold quinoa, and is a bit higher in protein and calories, too. The flavor of red quinoa tends to be a bit more bitter, so it pairs nicely with sweeter foods like butternut squash, avocado, or dried fruit. The color is also something to mention, as it keeps it’s beautiful red even after being cooked. Finally, black quinoa, is a bit harder to find than the other two, but is worth the search. If you do find it, it has a sweeter taste than red, but with the same “crunchy” texture, and is perfect in salads because of its heartier texture.
When cooked, quinoa (the gold variety) turns slightly transluscent, and has a little white “c” that surrounds each grain, this is the germ, the nutrient-rich outer layer on grains and seeds. To cook, all you need to do is bring a pot of water to a boil, add your quinoa and some salt. Cover, and reduce to a simmer on low for 10-15 minutes. The water to quinoa ratio is 2:1, so for one cup of quinoa you need 2 cups of water. Simple, right? (One serving of quinoa is 1/4 cup uncooked. When I’m making just one serving for myself, I tend to add 3/4 cup water rather than just 1/2 cup, otherwise it comes out too dry… don’t ask me why)
Curried Quinoa with Zucchini and Chick Peas
- 1/2 cup golden quinoa, uncooked
- 4 dried dates, chopped
- 1/2 tsp curry powder
- 1 medium zucchini, chopped
- 1 cup cooked chick peas
- 1 parsnip, sliced
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 5 button or crimini mushrooms, sliced
- 1/4 cup roasted tomatillo salsa
- 1 TBS parsley, chopped
- salt and pepper, to taste
- To cook quinoa, bring 1 to 1 1/4 cups water, curry powder, and a pinch of salt to a boil over medium-high heat. Add quinoa, stir, cover, and reduce heat to low. Simmer 10-15 minutes, or until quinoa is cooked. Set aside.
- Meanwhile, heat a large non-stick pan on medium heat and sautee garlic until fragrant, 20 seconds. Add chick peas, mushrooms, parsnip and salt and pepper. Cook, strirring frequently until mushrooms start to soften, 2 minutes.
- Add zucchini and tomatillo salsa along with 1/4 cup water. Cover and cook for about 5 minutes, or until parsnip is tender. Stir in parsley.
- Add chopped dates to quinoa before serving.
Per serving: 423 calories, 83 grams carbs, 5 grams (healthy!) fat, 17 grams protein
Nutrition calculations made using myfitnesspal.com’s recipe calculator
Try these other recipes for quinoa:
http://glutenfreegoddess.blogspot.com/ (This one would be good with black or red quinoa!)
Question: How do you like your quinoa? Comment below!