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Quinoa recipes

Diana De Cicco is a food editor and writer based in New York City. She has a master's degree from New York University in Food Studies. Her passions are eating, traveling, and eating while traveling.

Quinoa: Super grain

Quinoa is a fairly new ingredient in many kitchens, but is now readily available in most supermarkets and health food stores. High in protein, calcium, manganese and lots of other vitamins, quinoa is a good alternative to rice or pasta. Paired with vegetables, cheese, meat or even fruit, quinoa is a healthy and tasty addition to your family meal. Here are three quinoa recipes to show you just how versatile this nutritious grain can be.

Quinoa

What is quinoa?

Commonly described as a grain, quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is actually the seed of a plant and is similar to beets or spinach. Quinoa can be white, red or black and, before being cooked, looks like tiny seeds. Once cooked, quinoa is soft on the outside and chewy on the inside while exuding a sweet and nutty flavor.

Selection and storage

Because of its increasing popularity as a nutrition grain, quinoa is available in prepackaged boxes, but you can also buy it in the bulk bin at some health food stores. Choosing a color is up to you, there is really no difference in taste or texture. Most of the quinoa that comes prepackaged will be presoaked so you don't have to wash it again. However, if buying in bulk, discard any seeds that are damaged and give the quinoa a rinse to remove any dirt or grit. Just like rice and pasta, after you open the box (or if you buy it in bulk) store quinoa in a plastic container in a cool, dark place.

Cooking quinoa

To cook, combine one part quinoa to two parts water. Bring quinoa to a boil and then simmer, covered, for about 10 to 15 minutes. The seeds will become translucent and the germ inside of the seed will become visible on the outer shell of the seed. Quinoa will almost triple in size, so adjust the amount you cook accordingly.

Quinoa recipes

Avocado and Tomato Quinoa

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
2 teaspoons grated lime zest
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups water
1 cup quinoa
2 large avocados, diced
2 medium tomatoes, diced
4 scallions, chopped
1/4 cup chopped fresh basil

Directions:
1. Combine lime zest and juice with butter, oil and sugar. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

2. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add quinoa, stir, cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook for 10 to 15 minutes or until seeds are translucent.

3. Spoon quinoa into a large bowl and toss with avocados, tomatoes and scallions. Drizzle dressing over mixture and gently stir. Sprinkle with basil.

Chicken Quinoa Salad

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
4 cups water
2 cups quinoa
2 tablespoons white wine vinegar
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 cups cooked chicken, diced
1-1/2 cups red grapes, quartered
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted

Directions:
1. Bring water to a boil in a large pot. Add quinoa, stir, and lower heat to a simmer. Cover and cook quinoa in a large pot of boiling water for 10 to 15 minutes or until seeds are translucent.

2. Combine vinegar, oil, and salt and pepper in a bowl. Spoon quinoa in a large bowl and toss with chicken, grapes and almonds. Drizzle dressing over quinoa and gently stir.

Cinnamon Quinoa

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients:
1 cup low fat milk
1 cup water
1 cup quinoa
2 cups fresh blueberries
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/3 cup chopped pecans, toasted
4 teaspoons honey

Directions:
1. Pour milk and water into a medium pot. Add quinoa and bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover and cook 10 to 15 minutes or until translucent.

2. Mix blueberries and cinnamon into quinoa and spoon mixture into a large bowl or individual bowls. Sprinkle with pecans and drizzle with honey.

More quinoa recipes

Creative quinoa recipes
Quinoa: High protein grain
California Plum and Quinoa Salad

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