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Recipes for Quinoa?

Well, my husband wants to lose 20 pounds and the nutritionist at Kaiser says he should eat quinoa - I guess for a carb it is very nutritious. Neither of us has eaten it before and I have no idea what to do with it. Looks like millet - only a little larger.

Do you have any good recipes for making it into something delicious? Actually, I am starting at square one. With an unknown grain my tendency is to just boil it in a lot of water until it's tender and then drain it in a colander. Just looking at this in the raw state without having tasted it I'm assuming I would use quinoa in any recipe as if it was cooked rice. Perhaps chopped stir fried veg. and chicken over it, or mix it with chopped cooked broccoli and melted cheese? Do you think I could use my rice cooker to cook it? It's a basic model with no fancy settings - just on & off.

Thanks!

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  1. My favorite salad involves cleaning a lot of pots, but it is super easy. Add equal amounts quinoa, lentils, brown rice, then add steamed broccoli, red bell pepper, red onion, corn, mint, basil, and cilantro, salt and pepper. My family, who doesn't really accept such overtly healthy food into their meals has really added this salad to their meals happily. I think it is tastey on it's own but my family likes to add salad dressing like a balsamic vinagrette.
    A box of quinoa usually has cooking directions on it. It is extremely simple to prepare.

    1 Reply
    1. re: LLLLL

      This was purchased from a bulk bin - so there was no packaging or instructions. I like your idea for a salad. It would work for short grain brown rice too I suppose.

    2. I usually simmer quinoa one-to-one with water for about 20 minutes. Toward the end you can just turn the heat off and keep it covered to let it absorb the last of the water and get nice and fluffy.

      Once it's cooked there's lots you can do with it. Try tossing it with fresh tomatoes, basil, and olive oil.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ed4

        Oooh nice idea about the tomatoes and basil - of course I would want to add some butter and parmesan, maybe that is why he needs to lose 20 pounds! But your saying it cooks in 20 minutes leads me to think my rice cooker could do it because 20 minutes is the standard time it takes rice to cook too.

      2. I have been experimenting with quinoa recently as well. I love it's texture. The first time I had it was at Border Grill in Santa Monica, where it's served like a couscous salad. It had lots of lemon/lime juice, some roasted corn kernels and chopped tomatoes in it. Deborah Madison's Vegetarian Cooking for Everyone has a few recipes, one of which is similar to the above with the addition of scallions.
        Here's what I had recently at Wilson in Culver City - a curried quinoa timbale served along side a tomatoey mushroom stew. I've tried to recreate it home thus using the above cookbook as a guide:
        Mushroom Stew - Heat some olive oil in a wide pot, add a little chopped onion and saute until just beginning to color. Add some chopped marjoram and parsley or cilantro and finely diced (peeled would be nice) sweet heirloom tomatoes, minced garlic. Saute until tomatoes break down and reduce. Add sliced mushrooms - I used cremini - restaurant had used fancier wild ones. Saute those until they color a little. Add a little water/broth/mushroom soaking liquid and salt and pepper and cook until mushrooms soften. Garnish with additional chopped cilantro/parsley. If tomatoes are not sweet, add a little pinch of sugar or a dribble of honey to balance flavors. The stew should have enough sauce to need a spoon to eat.

        Quinoa - I use Trader Joe's and the packet says to rinse a few times and then add twice as much water and bring to a boil in a saucepan, with a little salt to taste. Then cover and simmer for about 10-15 minutes until the water is absorbed. One time I accidentally added thrice as much water and by the time I prepped other things, the quinoa had absorbed it all and the texture was very mushy. So if you're going to boil it in lots of water, remember to drain as soon as desired doneness is reached. BTW, I am not sure if you lose any nutrients when you use that method. You might want to check with your nutritionist. Here is how I curried the cooked quinoa - finely chop a small mild onion for a cup of raw quinoa. Heat oil in a non-stick skillet. Add onions, soften and then add chopped coriander/parsley, corriander powder, cumin powder, garam masala and paprika or cayenne to taste and saute for a minute or two until spices are fragrant. Add the cooked quinoa, check for salt and adjust.

        2 Replies
        1. re: sweetTooth

          Your recipes are lovely. Very subtle flavors. I'm going to try making the quinoa with my rice cooker as it sounds like the instructions being the same as for rice with the cooker, that it would come out the same.

          1. re: niki rothman

            Thanks! Yup, rice cooker would work I think. With 2 cups of water for a cup of quinoa, it didn't stick to the pan much or scorch at all, if that's what you're worried about.

        2. I like the flavor of quinoa when you toast it a little first, pilau style, but you may not reap all of the nutritional benefits if you do that. Anyone know for sure?

            1. re: DiveFan

              Ooh, thanks for those links! As someone mentioned in the first thread, Vegetarian Times has carried quinoa recepies in the last few months. I think I even remember some crunchy quinoa muffins that might be worth a shot.