Quinoa is a funny food. If you make it the right way, it can be very good. But if you don’t, then it tastes like cardboard. I’ve been lucky in that I’ve had more successes than failures with my quinoa adventures, but I can completely understand why people think they don’t like it.
Most people have only relatively recently heard of quinoa. It’s been popular as a superfood or supergrain for a few years now. But quinoa is actually an ancient grain that has been around for 3000-4000 years, when the Incans first realized it was fit for human consumption. The Incans found it built up their physical stamina, and today we have found many health benefits of quinoa.
- is protein rich and a complete protein, meaning it contains all 9 essential amino acids
- contains almost twice as much fiber as most other grains
- is rich in iron, magnesium, lysine, Vitamin B2 and manganese
No wonder it is considered a super food!
If you cook quinoa like rice, with just water and a bit of salt, it is very bland. It is best to add flavor through low sodium broths, vegetables, spices and low-fat sauces and cheeses. Here is an easy recipe that you can make as a main dish or side dish for any meal.
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 2 cups low sodium chicken, vegetable or beef broth
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 cloves of garlic, minced
- 2 cups of diced vegetables of your choice (I used a mixture of asparagus, red pepper, carrots and zucchini)
- 1/2 tablespoon of butter
- 1/2 cup of shredded cheddar cheese
- salt and pepper to taste
- Heat olive oil in a pot over medium heat. Add diced vegetables and cook for 3-4 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional 30 seconds.
- Add quinoa and stock to the pot. Bring to a boil then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 10-15 minutes, until most of the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is fluffy.
- Add butter, cheese, salt and pepper and stir.
This dish is hearty enough for a meal or perfect for a healthy side dish to any meat. It also freezes beautifully.
(recipe inspired by this recipe from Once a Month Mom)