Although quinoa is most commonly found in a health-nut’s kitchen, you’re seriously missing out if you haven’t made room on the shelf for this grain. Quinoa is the new carbohydrate you’ve been praying for since you realized that pizza isn’t actually considered a balanced meal. Originally grown in South America, this ‘grain’ is a hefty serving of protein and is gluten free, so invite all your vegetarian and GF friends over for a feast. Here are a few ways to consume this diverse little seed as a main dish or a side.
1. Quinoa Stuffed Bell Peppers
These are great to make all at once and then freeze and warm up when you have a late class or a packed schedule with no time to prepare something to eat.
- 3 cups quinoa, cooked
- 1 cup corn kernels
- ½ cup canned black beans, drained and rinsed
- ½ cup small tomatoes, diced
- ½ cup cheddar cheese, shredded
- 1 teaspoon garlic powder
- ½ teaspoon chili powder
- A pinch of salt and pepper, to taste
- 6 bell peppers, stemmed
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Combine all ingredients (expect the whole peppers) in a bowl until everything is evenly mixed.
- Spoon mixture into the peppers, and place peppers in a baking dish.
- Cook for about 25-30 minutes, or until peppers appear tender and filling is heated through.
2. Hot Oat & Quinoa Cereal
If you’re a fan of overnight oats or chia seed breakfast jars, this will become your new fave. It’s also just as easily customizable and versatile with flavors and ingredient pairings.
- ½ cup dried fruit
- ½ cup steel-cut oats
- ½ cup quinoa, rinsed
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- ½ teaspoons ground cinnamon
- 4 cups water
- In a medium saucepan, boil dried fruit (cranberries, cherries, or raisins), steel-cut oats, quinoa, kosher salt, cinnamon, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan.
- Cover and let sit off heat overnight.
- In the morning, reheat over low heat, stirring occasionally and adding water or milk if needed.
- Bring mixture to a boil; reduce heat and simmer, stirring occasionally, until grains are tender for 20-25 minutes.
- Top with maple syrup, jam, peanut or almond butter, fresh fruit, or whatever you have on hand.
3. Quinoa Fried Rice
You’ll feel full due to the protein content of the eggs and quinoa, sans bloat and the guilt that comes with all of the artificial ingredients used in your favorite Chinese takeout.
- 2-3 cups cooked quinoa
- ¼ small onion, chopped
- 2 carrots, peeled and chopped
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 3 scallions, chopped and divided
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 2 eggs, lightly scrambled, but still raw
- ½ cup frozen peas, thawed
For the sauce:
- 1 ½ tablespoons teriyaki sauce
- 2 ½ tablespoons soy sauce
- ¾ teaspoon sesame oil
- Mix ingredients for sauce in a small bowl and set aside.
- In a large saucepan, heat half of the olive oil over high heat. Add onions and carrots and cook for 2 minutes. Add two chopped scallions and garlic to the pan and cook for another 2 minutes. Add in the rest of the olive oil and the quinoa. Stir-fry for 2 minutes.
- Add sauce and stir-fry until incorporated, about 2 minutes.
- Make a hole in the center of the quinoa. Pour eggs in the middle and scramble.
- Add peas and then toss together until the peas are warmed through.
- Add remaining scallion and serve.
Savory or sweet, there’s no wrong way to go about eating quinoa, unless you just aren’t eating it. Some other great ways to eat this super seed are (but are not limited to):
- Tossing into a green salad as a protein replacement.
- Adding half a cup of cooked quinoa to your favorite vegetable soup.
- Add ¼ cup of cooked quinoa to your favorite yogurt and top with nuts, fruits, berries, and granola.
- Fill half an avocado with a heaping pile of quinoa and drizzle with your favorite vinaigrette or Sriracha sauce.