Not only can people not pronounce it (keen-wah), but they usually don’t know what to do with it either. The answer: everything. It is ranked as one of the world’s healthiest foods and on of the top 10 list of foods for muscle building. Quinoa is my new go to replacement for many foods I used to use wheat products in. Pros: it is packed with massive protein, cooks fast and is very versatile. Cons: it is very similar to the stuffing beads in bean bags – hard to corral and takes to the air when you are not looking. What does it taste like? In my opinion it is a mild and slightly nutty grain, especially when toasted prior to use. But you must rinse rinse rinse or you will have a bitter flavor from the seed coating. You can buy pre-rinsed quinoa for a little more money (like Bob’s Red Mill), but I usually buy the Kroger Simple Truth bag and rinse it myself as it is simply cheaper. What are my top uses?
* a replacement for bulgur wheat in tabbouleh and similar recipes
* a replacement for bread crumbs in meatloaf
* add to a can of tuna to double the protein as well as the portion
* a substitute in common rice dishes (when you go GF you tire of rice quickly)
* a thickener in soups and stews that adds a protein punch
My Favorite Recipes:
Chicken Broccoli Casserole (from the book Quinoa 365)
This replaces my family recipe for Chicken Divan. It called for cream of chicken soup. Gluten free cream of chicken soup does not taste right at all and costs about $3-$4 a can. So now I can have that flavor back and add a punch of protein.
1 cup quinoa (rinsed!)
2 cups water
3 cups broccoli florets
2 Tbsp olive oil
4 boneless skinless chicken breasts
1 1/2 cups sour cream
1/2 cup gluten free mayonnaise
2 tsp lemon juice
2 tsp prepared mustard
1 tsp curry powder
pinch of dried basil (or 1/2 tsp minced fresh basil)
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly grease a 9×13 casserole dish.
Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce heat to simmer, and cook for 10 more minutes. Turn heat off and leave covered and on burner 6 more minutes. Fluff with fork to cool. Evenly spread quinoa over the bottom of the casserole dish.
Cook the broccoli in a steamer or microwave until just tender. Place in casserole dish on top of quinoa.
Heat the oil i a large skillet over medium high heat. Brown chicken breasts until cooked and the juices run clear. Cool slightly then slice into 2 inch wide strips and place evenly over broccoli.
Combine the sour cream, mayo, lemon juice, mustard, curry powder and basil in a small bowl and mix well. Spread evenly over the chicken. Top with shredded cheese.
Bake on center oven rack for about 25 minutes until cheese is melted and bubbly.