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Quinoa recipes

Due to popular request, I am sharing a few of the quinoa recipes that I have been trying this summer. My cousins gave me an amazing cookbook that is all about quinoa and I have been enjoying these recipes so much.

For those who have not yet discovered this amazing “ancient grain”, here are a few facts that might encourage you beyond my very high recommendation to incorporate it into your diet:

  • Quinoa is a complete protein. Typically when you eat a protein source you also need a grain source in order to get the full nutritional effect – so you eat beans with rice, peanut butter on bread. But this grain is complete – you can combine it with another protein source if you like, or you can eat it all on its own.
  • Quinoa is gluten-free. In a time when gluten and wheat free diets are in style, quinoa is an awesome substitute.
  • It only takes 15 minutes to cook quinoa… and it doesn’t stick to the pot like rice does! You can cook it in water, broth, milk, coconut milk and more!
  • quinoa is high in vitamins and minerals such as riboflavin, calcium, vitamin E, potassium, phosophorus, magnesium, folic acid and beta carotene
  • Quinoa isn’t technically a grain, however, it’s nutitional benefits are similar: reduces high blood pressure, helps prevent heart disease, and boosts the immune system
  • Although you might be surprised by the price on your first purchase, it is a highly economical meatless option as you do not need very much to fill you up.

How do you cook quinoa? The most basic method is this: Boil 1 part quinoa to two parts water. Once boiling, reduce to simmer for 10 minutes. Turn off burner and let sit for 3-5 more minutes.

Here are some of the recipes that I have tried so far.

Pina Colada Quinoa

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1 cup quinoa

one 14oz can light coconut milk

one 14 oz can crushed pineapple

1 TBSP brown sugar (I omitted this as I found it was more than sweet enough for my taste)

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

Instructions: In a medium saucepan, bring the quinoa and coconut milk to a boil. Cover, reduce the heat to low and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for an additional 6 minutes. Drain the pineapple, reserving the juice. Stir 1/2 cup of the juice into the saucepan. Add the sugar and vanilla and mix well. Stir the crushed pineapple into the mixture and serve. Store in the refrigerator for up to 2 days.

Pomegranate, Almond and Feta Salad (I left out the pomegranates as they are not currently in season)

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1/2 cup water

1/4 cup black quinoa (I used red quinoa)

1/2 cup sliced almonds

4 cups spinach leaves

3/4 cup crumbled light feta

1/4 cup sliced red onion

1 pomegranate, seeded

3 TBSP red wine vinegar

3 TBSP olive oil

4 tsp honey

1 tsp Dijon mustard

Salt and pepper to taste

Instructions: Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a small saucepan. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for an additional 4 minutes. Remove the lid and fluff with a fork. Set aside to cool. If you want to toast almonds (I didn’t) then preheat the oven to 350degC. Spread the almonds on a baking sheet and toast in the oven for about 5-7 minutes, until they are fragrant and lightly browned. Mix in spinach, quinoa, almonds, feta, onion, pomegranate seeds. Whisk the vinegar, oil, honey and Dijon in a small bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Drizzle the dressing over salad.

Mango Chicken Quinoa (this is absolutely amazing and I highly recommend it!)

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2 cups chicken or vegetable stock (I used vegetable stock)

1 cup quinoa

1 TBSP olive oil

4 boneless, skineless chicken breasts, diced

1 1/4 cups diced zucchini

1 cup diced red bell pepper (about 1 pepper)

2 TBSP orange juice

1 ripe mango, diced

2 TBSP chopped fresh cilantro

1 cup shredded aged cheddar cheese

1/2 cup light sour cream

Instructions: Bring the stock and quinoa to a biol in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 6 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside. Heat the oil in a large saucepan over medium-high heat. Add the diced chicken and cook for 5 minutes, stirring the chicken to lightly brown on all sides. Add the zucchini and red pepper and continue to cook for another 10 minutes, until the vegetables are tender and the chicken is thoroughly cooked. Add the orange juice and stir to coat all the ingredients. Contiinue cooking until the mixture is warm throughout. Fold in the mango, cilantro, cheese and sour cream and allow to heat slightly. Serve over cooked quinoa.

Thai Cashew Chicken and Broccoli on Quinoa (This is a super protein dish!)

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4 boneless, skinless chicken breast

1/4 cup soy sauce

2 TBSP oyster sauce (I didn’t have any so I omitted this)

1 tsp minced fresh garlic

2 tsp minced fresh ginger

2 cups water

1 cup quinoa

4 tsp sesame oil

2 cups broccoli florets

1 cup thinly sliced onion

3/4 cup water

3 TBSP peanut butter

1 TBSP honey

1 cup unsalted toasted cashews

Directions: Slice the chicken into thin pieces and place in a large, sealable plastic bag. Combine the soy sauce, oyster sauce, garlic and ginger in a bowl and pour into the bag with the sliced chicken. Place in the refrigerator for at least 1 hour (and up to 24 hours) to marinate. Bring the water and quinoa to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn the heat off and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 6 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.

Place 2 tsp of the sesame oil in a large frying pan over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the broccoli and onion and cover the pan. Stir frequently and add 1 TBSP of water if the saucepan appears dry. Cook until the onion is opaque and the broccoli tender, about 8 to 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl and set aside.

Remove the chicken, reserving the marinade. Place the remaining sesame oil and the chicken in the large saucepan on medium-high heat and cook until the chicken is no longer pink, about 7-8 minutes. Reduce the heat to medium and add the marinade to the pan. Stir in the water, peanut butter and honey and cook for 1 minute. Toss in the broccoli-onion mixture and cashews and stir thoroughly. Serve on top of quinoa.

Moist Chocolate Cake (yes! cake that is pretty good for you!!!)

2/3 cup white/golden quinoa

1 1/3 cups water

1/3 cup milk

4 large eggs

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

3/4 cup butter, melted and cooled

1 1/2 white or cane sugar

1 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/2 tsp baking soda

1/2 tsp salt

Directions: Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a medium saucepan. Cover, reduce to a simmer and cook for 10 minutes. Turn off the heat and leave the covered saucepan on the burner for another 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork and allow the quinoa to cool. Preheat the oven to 350degC. Lightly grease 2 8-inch round or square cake pans (I just used bread pans).

Combine the milk, eggs and vanilla in a blender or food processor. Add 2 cups of cooked quinoa and the butter and continue to blend until smooth. (I didn’t have access to either machines but it still tasted good… was just a bit grainy). Whisk together the sugar, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a medium bowl. Add the contents of the blender and mix well. Divide the batter evenly between the 2 pans and bake on the center oven rack for 40-45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean (note that this cake does not really rise). Remove the cake from the oven and cool completely in the pan before serving. Frost if desired. Store in a sealed container in the refrigerator for up to 1 week or freeze for up to 1 month.

***While all the pictures are mine, the recipes come from an amazing book: Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming. I highly recommend this cookbook

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