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What to do with quinoa?

So my husband has set me a challenge. I've bought some quinoa and want to do something delicious with it.

But instead of scouring google for a recipe, I was hoping some of you fine folks might give me some suggestions. We are looking to give it a bit of pep - quinoa can be well a little bit uninspiring.

Any recommendations would be most welcome.

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    1. re: greygarious

      Ah I see it's actually a well trodden topic.

      Thought this one was interesting - thanks.

      Vegetarian Times magazine had a nice salad recipe in their July/August issue - I recommend cutting it in half, as it made a ton! (Unless you need a lot or plan on eating this salad every day for the next week.)

      Spinach-Quinoa Salad with Cherries and Almonds
      1/4 c Sliced Almonds
      1 1/2 c quinoa (rinsed and drained)
      2 c spinach leaves
      2 c fresh cherries (pitted and halved) or 1 c dried cherries (chopped)
      1 cucumber (peeled, seeded and cut into 1/3 in dice)
      1 15 oz can chickpeas (rinsed and drained)
      1 small red onion (finely chopped)
      1/4 c plain low-fat yogurt
      3 T olive oil
      2 T fresh lime juice
      2 garlic cloves (minced)

      1. Preheat oven to 350. Toast almonds for 7-10 minutes.
      2. Boil 3 c of salted water over Med. heat. Stir in quinoa. Reduce heat to med. low and simmer for 15 min. or until all liquid has been absorbed
      3. Remove from heat and cool, covered, in pot.
      4. Lay 5-6 spinach leaves on top of one another. Roll and slice into slivers. Repeat with all spinach.
      5. Toss together quinoa, almonds, spinach, cherries, cucumber, chickpeas and red onion in large serving bowl.
      6. Whisk together yogurt, olive oil, lemon juice and garlic into small bowl. Pour over salad and toss to coat. Season with salt and pepper. Chill for 30 min.

      (Vegetarian Times, July/August 2006, p. 75)

      New Posts | Permalink | Report | Reply

      cord Sep 18, 2006 01:53AM

    2. Cook it as if you would cook rice recipes. I usually use a stock for more flavour. I do mushroom quinoa, quinoa with tomato paste for added richness, with herbs and a squeez of lemon on the finished product.

      It's a great side dish!! Use a rich stock or broth to cook it and you can't go wrong. I like small chunks or tomato in mine and fresh mint or dill.

      1. For those of you that don't know (I didn't), quinoa, pronounced keen wah, is a south american grain. It can used used in place of rice. It cooks in half the time and has more nutrients. Like Bamiawruz says, it can be used in place of rice. It comes in red and white. Red is said to have an earthier flavor (I don't know what that means, guess we will find out).

        Here is a link to a more in depth definition. http://www.epicurious.com/tools/foodd...

        Here are a couple of other chowhound links about quinoa.

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/6520...

        http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/7094...

        Here is a link on wikipedia about it that shows some pictures of it. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa

        I have a question or two about it.

        Is it starchy? If so, can you cook it like risotto with the starch forming a creamy sauce with the stock?

        It is supposed to swell to 4 times it's size after cooking. How does that compare with rice?

        Can the flour be used in baking? If so does it develop gluten?

        3 Replies
        1. re: Hank Hanover

          Quinoa is the seed of a plant that is not a grass, hence not a true grain/cereal, although it is treated as one.

          1. re: greygarious

            I read it is a protein too, so that's fab for diets of all kinds!

          2. re: Hank Hanover

            I find the red quinoa to be "nuttier" (perhaps that is what they mean by "earthier") and the texture is firmer. I steam after boiling to get a fluffier texture, and the red rarely seems mushy while the white tends towards it.

          3. Here's a recipe I've made many times. Tastes even better the next day.

            VEGETABLE QUINOA BAKE

            1 Tbs canola oil
            1 med onion, chopped
            8-10 mushrooms, sliced
            1 lg bell pepper, diced
            1 jalapeno pepper, minced
            1 sm zucchini, diced
            2 cloves garlic, minced
            3 cups water
            1-1/2 cups quinoa
            2 cups peeled and diced sweet potato
            1 cup chopped kale
            2 Tbs minced fresh parsley
            ½ tsp salt
            ½ tsp pepper

            Preheat oven to 400 deg. In saucepan, heat oil over medium heat. Add onions and mushrooms, peppers, zucchini, and garlic. Saute about 5-7 minutes. Stir in remaining ingredients and bring to boil.

            Transfer mixture to 9- by 13-inch pan and cover. Bake until liquid is absorbed, about 35-40 minutes. Remove from oven and fluff with fork. Let stand 5 minutes before serving. Serves 6-8.

            If you want to make it more "main dish-y", sprinkle some shredded cheddar (or some other cheese you like) and put it back in the oven until the cheese melts. I've done this when I needed a vegetarian main dish.

            5 Replies
            1. re: nofunlatte

              Your quinoa bake reads deliciously and fabulously simple! Do you rinse your quinoa before cooking? I've read that it can have a bitter flavor if not rinsed and have wondered.

              1. re: just_M

                Read the package. If it does not say it is pre-rinsed, you need to do that before cooking. The seeds have a natural coating that needs to be washed off. It's not like the sorting lentils step, which is largely unnecessary as finding a pebble in supermarket bagged legumes is very rare.

                1. re: greygarious

                  Well that makes sense. I'll have to check on that when I purchase some. Thanks GG.

                2. re: just_M

                  I buy bulk quinoa at the coop, so I usually rinse. But the last time I cooked it, I forgot to rinse--didn't notice any bitterness. I think I read somewhere that much bitterness has been bred out of quinoa.

                3. re: nofunlatte

                  That looks absolutely delicious. We have tasked ourselves with coming up with one veggie meal a week, I think this could easily work for us. We've got fresh yellow squash and I think I might substitute chard for kale, but other than that I think it looks fantastic. I think you could splash out on the cheese as well. Maybe some gruyere?

                4. I recently made some for a family get together and everyone loved it. I cooked the quinoa on it's own per the package. Laid it out on a cookie sheet to cool and dry a little. I added sauteed onions & a little garlic. Added chopped tomatoes, good amount of chopped fresh parsley, and avocado. Then added olive oil and some vinagrette dressing. I think the fact that the quinoa was room temp helped quite a bit. It was great and simple.

                  1. Some excellent recipe ideas here:

                    http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/3294...

                    My fave uses for it are southwestern-inspired (black beans, corn, jalapeno, red onion, lime, cilantro, and other ingredients like tomato, bell pepper, avocado, etc, as available) and Greek-inspired (tomato, cucumber, red onion, feta, lemon, oregano, mint, etc).

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: nickblesch

                      Yes - love the SW theme. Quinoa is so great as a cold salad with black beans, cilantro, lime, etc. Have never gone the greek route, but that sounds great as well.

                    2. Quinoa cakes - cook quinoa in salted water; then drain and add at the minimum egg and some almond meal (as little of both as possible) til it'll hold shape. form them into patties and chill til firm. then bake or pan-saute. Feel free to also add things like sauteed chopped onions, garlic, mushrooms, veggies, herbs, etc. before chilling. Serve with a ragu or roasted veggies or a simple sauce. Also good alongside a lentil/rice salad.

                      1. Thanks guys for all the discussion. I am looking forward to trying out some of these recipes.

                        1. Last weekend I had some quinoa, corn and poblano peppers, and threw together this experimental quinoa dish. The grilled vegetables gave it a really nice smoky flavor.

                          Quinoa with Grilled Corn and Poblano Peppers

                          6-7 scallions
                          1 t. olive oil
                          1 large ear corn
                          2 poblano peppers
                          1 cup quinoa, rinsed thoroughly and drained through a fine mesh strainer (not necessary with the pre-rinsed type)
                          1 1/2 c. water
                          1/4 t. salt
                          2 T chopped fresh cilantro
                          3 T. roasted, lightly salted pepitas
                          1 T. extra virgin olive oil
                          1 T. lime juice
                          Freshly ground black pepper to taste

                          Light a fire in your grill. Brush the scallions and peppers with oil. Carefully pull back the husks of the corn part way, remove the silk and replace the husks (don’t worry that the corn isn’t completely covered – the husks will mostly burn off.) Grill all the vegetables at once over hot coals. The scallions will be done in 3-4 minutes, the peppers should be nicely charred all over in 6-7 minutes, and the corn in 7-8 minutes.

                          Chop the scallions, discarding any ends that got completely dried out during the grilling.) Cut off the kernels off the corn using a sharp knife. Put the peppers in a bowl, cover and let sit for 15 minutes. Slip off the blistered skin and dice, discarding the seeds.

                          Put the dry quinoa in a heavy-bottomed saucepan on medium-high heat. Toast the grains until they turn slightly golden and smell nutty. Add the boiling water and salt, and stir. Cover, reduce heat and simmer for 15 minutes or until the grains display a little white thread. Fluff with a fork.

                          Add the grilled corn, poblanos, scallions, cilantro, olive oil and pepitas to the quinoa. Season to taste with pepper and serve.

                          Photo: http://whatwouldcathyeat.com/2010/07/...

                          2 Replies
                          1. re: cathyeats

                            That sounds delicious cathyeats, and perfect for summer grilling!

                            1. re: cathyeats

                              That does sound fantastic, I'll have to give it a go.

                            2. I use quinoa instead of bulgar wheat in my tabouleh, which is good if you are trying to avoid gluten.