Wednesday, September 18, 2013

MoFo 2013 - Day 18 - Q is for Quinoa

2013 has been declared the International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. Often mistaken for a grain, this versatile and nutrient rich seed couldn't be more well suited for this honor. It's a complete protein, has lots of fiber, iron, magnesium and B-6. It's so quick cooking and can easily stand in for longer cooking rice in lots of dishes.

Quinoa is super easy to prepare. There are a few important tips to remember when preparing quinoa. This will ensure fluffy awesomeness.

1 - Make sure to rinse. Quinoa has a substance called saponin that can make if very bitter. Place quinoa in fine meshed strainer and rinse in cold water until it runs clear.

2 - Many people swear by a 2-1 water to quinoa ratio. I end up putting a little bit less water in to account for the water left from the rinse (for 1 cup dried quinoa, I use 1 7/8 cup water)

3 - Be patient - cook for 15 quick minutes. Turn heat off and let it sit for 10 minutes. Then lift the lid and fluff with a fork.

That's it.

When I am being semi-organized, I try to prep some stuff on the weekend for quick weekday meals. Bowls are a great way to do one dish meals and quinoa is the perfect grain for them. Heat up your favorite grains (quinoa, rice, millet, etc), add a protien (nuts, beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan), throw in your favorite sauteed veggies and a sassy sauce and you are good to go. You can get creative by using lots of different profiles from all over the globe for your own quinoa bowls: Asian, Mediterranean, Indian, you name it.

Not surprisingly, I did a little Southwestern twist on my bowl. You can re-heat leftover quinoa or make fresh.

Texas Quinoa Bowl

Makes 4 servings

2 cups cooked quinoa, heated
2 cups home made or store bought vegan chili
1 cup vegan queso
chopped fresh cilantro for garnish
tortilla strips for garnish (optional)

Heat chili and queso. In a bowl layer with 1/2 cup warmed quinoa, 1/2 cup chili, 1/4 cup queso. Garnish with cilantro and tortilla strips.

Eat hearty!

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