Our Favorite Quinoa Recipes

Cooking How-To,How-To,Ingredient
February 15, 2009

A brief history on the popular grain paired with six filling and timeless recipes.

Quinoa
Mark Boughton Photography
http://pgoarelish2.files.wordpress.com/2009/02/16419_quinoa_f.jpg

Revered by ancient Incas as “the mother of all grains” and hailed by modern nutritionists as the “supergrain of the future,” quinoa (KEEN-wah) has been cultivated in the Andes for more than 6,000 years. Since it’s not a grass, it’s technically not a grain. But it looks like a grain and cooks like a grain, so the food world calls it a grain.

Quinoa’s surge in popularity is due to its tremendous nutritional value. Its high protein content (12 to 18 percent) outranks other grains. What’s more, it’s one of the few vegetarian foodstuffs considered to be a complete protein, containing all eight essential amino acids. Compared to other grains, it’s high in unsaturated fat and low in carbohydrates. It’s a great source of fiber, iron, magnesium and phosphorous. And if that’s not enough to recommend it, quinoa is also gluten-free and widely considered Kosher for Passover. Relish Cooking Show Chef Brian Morris touches on these benefits:

Because the quinoa plant is hardy and undemanding, NASA is considering growing it on extended space missions. But official agencies weren’t always so friendly. Early Spanish conquerors in South America denigrated it as “food for Indians” and actively suppressed its growth due to its sacred status in non-Christian religious rituals.

Quinoa cooks like rice. But go easy: Quinoa cooks much faster than rice and swells to four times its original volume. Before cooking, rinse under cold water until water runs clear. Quinoa’s delicate taste is often compared to couscous, and it’s a great choice for salads and pilafs. To bring out the nutty flavor, toast quinoa in a dry pan or with a little butter before cooking.

The possible for preparation are endless. From salads to soups to main course servings, quinoa can be a star in just about anything. Listed below are six of our favorite recipes.

— By Jo Marshall, a food writer in Deephaven, Minn.

Quinoa, Spinach and Walnut Stir-Fry

Quinoa, Spinach and Walnut Stir-Fry

Discover quinoa, the super-grain, in this meatless meal.

shrimp-quinoa-dinner-relish

Glazed Shrimp with Quinoa and Curried Tomatoes

Daniel Lindley of St. John’s Restaurant in Chattanooga, Tenn., uses fresh cherry tomatoes seasoned with curry as a contrast to the hot sweet shrimp and toasted quinoa.

monster-taco-salad-vegetarian-chimichurri-quinoa-roasted-corn-whole-grain-dinner-health-spry

Monster Taco Salad with Chimichurri Quinoa and Roasted Corn

This salad is sufficient for even the biggest appetite.

roasted-sweet-potato-quinoa-soup-whole-grain-vegetarian-health-spry

Roasted Sweet Potato and Quinoa Soup

Rich and toasty, sweet potato soup is a satisfying cold weather staple.

Southwestern Quinoa Salad

Southwestern Quinoa Salad with Cilantro-Lime Vinaigrette

Full of vibrant colors and flavors, this healthy dish is hearty enough to serve as a vegetarian entree.

toasted-georgia-pecan-quinoa-breakfast-bowl-relish

Pecan-Quinoa Breakfast Bowl

If you like hot cereal for breakfast, give this a try. Look for quinoa, the "super grain," next to the couscous and rice at the supermarket.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 237 other followers