Adventures with Quinoa

10 Mar

You’ve already read about my love for Quinoa. I heard somewhere last week (I can’t remember for sure, but I think it was a guest on the Rachael Ray Show….I can’t remember who though) say that you can cook a big pot of quinoa on the weekend and use it during the week. I guess I “knew” this before, but had never really thought about it. But after hearing this, I thought it was a great idea, as when I cook quinoa, it’s normally in really small amounts and it’s difficult to get it just right. So on Sunday, I cooked a whole cup of the stuff dry, which made a sizeable amount. At first, I wondered if I could put all of that grainy goodness to use. I need not have worried…I’ve used lots of the quinoa so far for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Read on to see what I (and you) can do with it!

I made muffins! No, really! More specifically, these pumpkin quinoa muffins from Carrots ‘n Cake. I gave them all away to a friend, but they looked and smelled amazing (and the batter tasted good ;P)! The muffins also had raisins and nuts (recipe said walnuts, but I had some toasted almonds to use up, so I substituted those). I would really encourage you to try these….it’s a unique mixture of textures and flavours that come together for a healthy muffin (and they got positive reviews from the receiver).

I made salads! Tuesday’s lunch was an AMAZING salad containing 1/2 cup of quinoa, veggies I had in my fridge (I think the mix was cabbage, broccoli slaw, orange pepper, onion, mushrooms), one chopped artichoke heart and an ounce of light feta cheese, crumbled. I added a tsp of olive oil, some fat free Italian dressing, red wine vinegar, and seasoned with garlic salt, pepper, dried basil and cumin. This was SUCH a great mix of flavours! I liked it so much that I prepared a variation for today’s lunch – same dressing/seasoning, but I used spaghetti squash and added some different veggies (now that I have gotten groceries)!

I made a super-yummy side! In the past, I think the only way I have cooked quinoa is as a side-dish for supper. But I think that Monday night’s dish may be my all-time favourite. I sauteed a small onion and an apple in 2 tsp of olive oil. Once they were softened, I added 1 cup cooked quinoa (this made 2 LARGE servings, btw), some leftover cooked squash, diced (probably about a cup), and seasoned with salt, cinnamon and cumin. I love the smoky/sweet combo of cinnamon and cumin…you have to try it sometime! And see that chicken on the side? It was stuffed with leftover mushroom cream cheese and leftover cooked ham…I baked in just a little bit of chicken broth, and topped it with salt, pepper and dill seasoning. It was DELICIOUS….this was a good supper!

I made breakfast (besides the muffins)! I have read on a couple of blogs and in my Biggest Loser cookbook about using quinoa for breakfast (instead of oatmeal), so decided that this would be the perfect time to give a try. I made something I’ll call ABQ – Apple Breakfast Quinoa. 🙂 I cooked the apple as I did in my apple cinnamon oatmeal, then added in half a cup of quinoa at the last minute, cooking until it was heated through. After the quinoa was cooked and in the bowl, I gradually added 1/2 cup of skim milk (which I heated a bit first…don’t know why I’ve never thought of this before wiht oatmeal) and sweetened with Brown Sugar twin. This was yummy! It’s nice to switch it up from oatmeal, and the quinoa lends a different texture to the usual hot breakfast cereal.

I still have a bit of quinoa left in the fridge, so who knows what else I’ll create!? But I know that I will definitely do the big batch quinoa trick again. It has been a time saver, and made me think outside the box a bit…and incorporate more quinoa into my diet, which is a good thing, because it’s SUPER-healthy! Read more about why it’s such a superfood here. What about you…do you eat quinoa? Will you now after reading this post?

4 Responses to “Adventures with Quinoa”

  1. Tina March 10, 2011 at 11:07 am #

    Yum! I’m glad you made those muffins! I love them!


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