Like kale, I would not be a good crunchy mama if I never mentioned quinoa.
If you’ve never heard of it… Oh who am I kidding? Of course you’ve heard of it! But can you pronounce it? If you’re not quite sure, it’s pronounced “keen-wah”. A lot simpler to say than it looks, eh?
And did you know that quinoa is NOT a grain?
But Grace, you say, it’s on the shelf (or bulk bins?) right next to rice and couscous and risotto!
While quinoa’s grainy texture is a lovely substitute for grains, it’s actually a seed. And if you’re wondering how a grain is different than a seed, here is an article that explains it with science.
Quinoa being a seed makes it ideal for vegans and Paleo-people alike. For vegans, it offers a complete protein, and has a better carb-to-protein ratio than grains. For Paleo-people (as well as gluten-free, WAPF, GAPS, and other high-protein, low-grain diets), it provides that lovely taste and texture of couscous or rice, without it actually being a grain. Also, protein! Yay!
If you’re familiar with quinoa already, you probably know quite a few ways to make it, as well as its different forms sold in stores, such as a flour, made into pasta, or polenta.
If not, here are a few simple “starter” ideas:
Cold quinoa salad with black beans, tomato, cilantro, lime or lemon juice, green onion
Make like you would tabouleh, with tomato, red onion, lemon juice, and parsley
Use it to bulk up meat loaf, meatballs, or burgers
Add to soup
Make a warm salad, Asian style, with tamari, ginger, green onion, snap peas, and bean sprouts
Go Indian with a creamy masala or curry sauce, spinach, and your favorite protein
For an Italian flavor, brown Italian sausage and add to quinoa with tomato, basil, garlic, and oregano
Roast a chicken in your slow-cooker and toss in some quinoa as a side–it’ll soak up the broth to cook, giving it lots of flavor!
What are YOUR favorite ways to serve quinoa?