Quinoa is a very intriguing ingredient. It’s classified with the rest of the grains but it’s not even a grain, it’s a seed. Pronounced “keen-wah,” this grain-like crop has been around for over 6,000 years, originating in the Andean region of South America. The Incas held the crop to be sacred and referred to it as chisaya mama, meaning mother of all grains.
Nutritionally speaking, this “grain” is the mother of all grains, in protein. It’s the highest grain-like crop in protein, ranging from 12% to 18%. Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is a complete protein.
I love cooking with quinoa. It’s super easy to make and has a nice fluffy texture with a mild, nutty flavor. I add it to the same ingredients as I would with rice or couscous. It usually takes about 15 minutes to cook. The rule-of-thumb is to add twice as much water as raw quinoa (sometimes I add a little extra water if I throw in other ingredients). Quinoa is available is most supermarkets where rice and pasta is stocked. I usually buy mine at Whole Foods in the bulk bins.
- ½ cup quinoa, raw
- ½ onion, chopped
- 3 teaspoons olive oil
- 1½ cup water
- 5 ounces button mushrooms
- ¼ teaspoon sea salt
- 12 cherry tomatoes, halved
- handful of fresh mint, chopped
- Rinse quinoa in cool water and strain. Add onion and 1 teaspoon oil to saucepan. Cook at medium heat for 2 minutes. Add quinoa and water. Bring to a boil.
- Cover and simmer for about 12 minutes. Add mushrooms, 2 remaining teaspoons of oil, and sea salt, and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Remove from heat. Plate quinoa and top with cherry tomatoes halves and mint leaves. Enjoy!