I’ve heard that quinoa is higher in protein than oats, rice, or millet so I decided to try some recipes with quinoa for this week’s assignment. As I was looking for recipes I started reading about quinoa and discovered that it is coated with a substance called saponin. Saponin is a bitter chemical that is a little bit toxic so it is important to rinse quinoa thoroughly before using it. Quinoa contains oxalates which puts it on the caution list for persons who are prone to kidney stones.
The first recipe that I tried was blueberry lemon breakfast quinoa. After I rinsed the quinoa with cold water in a fine strainer I heated 2 cup of milk in a saucepan and stirred in 1 cup of uncooked quinoa and a pinch of salt. I heated this mixture over medium low heat until most of the liquid was absorbed. Then I put some of the cooked quinoa in a bowl and added 1.5 tablespoons of maple syrup, 1/2 cup of blueberries, a little lemon zest and 1 tsp of flax seed. I was surprised how easy this recipe was to make. While the word “quinoa” sounds exotic and a bit intimidating this recipe was no more difficult than steel cut oatmeal to make and it tasted great and it kept me full until lunch. I will definitely make this again!
Next, I used a cup of the cooked quinoa left over from breakfast to make a honey lime quinoa fruit salad. I’ve made honey lime fruit salad before by cutting up strawberries, mangoes, and blueberries and drizzling honey and the juice of ½ a lime over the fruit. This recipe however said to add 1 cup of cooked quinoa to the fruit. I was a bit skeptical about this but the quinoa added an interesting chewy texture to the salad and it made the dish feel more like a meal than a dessert. This seems like a nice salad for a hot summer day when you want something cool yet substantial to eat.
The last item that I made with the quinoa was a quinoa and black bean salad. This was another really easy dish to make. I started by browning 1 chopped onion and 3 chopped cloves of garlic in a teaspoon of vegetable oil. Then I took 3/4th cup of uncooked quinoa and mixed it into the vegetable mixture with 1 ½ cup vegetable broth. I seasoned this mixture with cumin, a little bit of cayenne pepper and salt and I turned up the heat until it came to a boil. Once it started to boil I covered it and turned the heat down and let it cook for 20 minutes. Then I added 1 cup of frozen corn kernels, 2 cans of black beans and ½ cup chopped cilantro and cooked it again for about 10 minutes. One thing that I learned by taking this class is that cooking is not that difficult. You can make some really good, fresh food pretty quickly if you plan a little and have the ingredients on hand.