Saturday, April 25, 2009


As promised, here is everything I have learned about Quinoa thanks to Wikipedia and the Gluten Free Girl and a little time spent messing around in the kitchen.

(pronounced /ˈkiːnoʊ.ə/ or /kwɨˈnoʊ.ə/, Spanish quinua, fromQuechua kinwa), a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a psuedocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a grass. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is currently limited. Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source. (from Wikipedia)

This is what the plant looks like:

and this is what whole grain Quinoa looks like when you cook it. It is cooked similarly to rice, 1 part quinoa to one part water brought to a boil, then covered and simmered for 20 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. It can also be cooked in vegetable or chicken broth for more flavor.

When I cook it, I usually make 2 cups of Quinoa at once. We eat half with one recipe that day and I save the other half in the fridge for a few days later with something else. Lily likes to eat it plain with just some Bragg's Liquid aminos on it. It tastes especially good with corn and goes well with roasted vegetables too.

Quinoa is available in many forms. We buy this Quinoa and corn pasta, which is really good. It's available at Harvest Health and even Meijer I think.

Here is a meal I have made twice now with Quinoa and we have all really liked it. It is basically black beans cooked with oinions, green chiles and lots of fresh cilantro served on top if the Quinoa and topped with cheese and chrunched up tortilla chips. The time I made gluten free corn bread and fried plantains to go with it.

Daisy likes it!

I also discovered that Quinoa is a great stand in for the cracked wheat in traditional middle eastern tabouli, from a great recipe for a Southwest Quinoa tabouli. I ate it on tortilla chips and it was awsome. To make it follow the recipe below adding black beans and corn, omitting the cucumber and replacing the parsley with cilantro. Have fun expiramenting and let me know what you make!

Here is the recipe for the traditional tabouli:


2 cups cooked and cooled Quinoa
1 cucumber, chopped
2 small tomatoes, chopped
1 bunch green onions, (8) sliced
1/2 cup fresh chopped mint
2 cups fresh chopped parsley
1 clove garlic, minced (optional)

*this is also extra yummy with some Feta cheese mixed in!

1/2 cup fresh lemon juice
3/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon pepper
2 teaspoons salt, or to taste

  • Cook the Quinoa by boiling 2 cups water and stirring in 1 cup of rinsed Quinoa. Stir once then cover and simmer for 15 minutes or until all water is absorbed. Cool.
  • Combine the salad ingredients, including Quinoa, in a medium bowl.
  • Mix the dressing ingredients together and stir into the salad mixture.
  • Serve chilled.It is best to cover the mixture and let it sit in the fridge for a hour or more so all the flavors can mix together.

    Mama K said...

    Quinoa is great stuff! I'm still learning to use it, so I'm glad to have your ideas. Did you know quinoa has a complete protein?

    FlowerMomma said...

    Yeah, I knew that, which is what I think is so extra great about it. I added that info to the post. I was surprised when I started looking into the other grains that many of them are complete proteins and far superior nutritionally to wheat.

    Anonymous said...

    Thanks for the ideas! What is Braggs Liquid Aminos?

    FlowerMomma said...

    Kathy, Bragg's is kinda like soy sauce but healthier and gluten free. Check it out:

    Mama K said...

    So, today, thanks to your suggestion, we had quinoa (instead of rice)with red beans for lunch. I seasoned the red beans with onion and dried cilantro. I sliced up some fruit to go with. It all came together for a delicious lunch.