The ancient grain, the mother grain, the protein packed superfood. Blah blah blah. That kind of talk, particularly when combined with a Namaste, made us quinoa averse, and a little nauseous. Mother Scamper slipped it into a lunch one day and we were inspired.
Quinoa is actually, a delicious and versatile grain with which we’ve become quite friendly as of late. Try these ideas and we think you’ll like it too.
Generally, we like to start with quinoa that we’ve cooked ahead of time.
Simple Quinoa Prep
- 1 cup dry = 3 cups cooked
- 1 c quinoa
- 2c liquid of choice (we usually pick chicken stock)
- Rinse quinoa thoroughly. If you don’t it can be bitter.
- Cook it like rice.
- Boil the liquid
- Add the quinoa and reduce heat to simmer
- Stir it in to mix it and let it simmer for 15 -20 min
- Remove from heat leaving it covered
- Let stand 5 min
That’s it. Pretty easy. Once you have it ready to go, you can get creative.
Here are 6 specific recipes, but experiment and come up with some of your own.
- 3/4 c cubed firm tofu
- 1 c broccoli florets (lightly steamed) just nuke them for a minute or 2
- 3/4 lb boneless skinless chicken breast or thighs cut into bite sized pieces
- 2 cloves garlic minced
- 4 scallions chopped
- 1/2 mango cubed
- 1 egg
- 1/4 c crushed peanuts
- 1 handful chopped fresh cilantro
- 1-3 Tbsp Dark sesame oil
- Dash of soy sauce
- Dash of fish sauce
- 1Tbsp curry paste
- 1-2 tsp curry powder
- 1 tsp dark brown sugar
- Pour a couple of Tbsp of sesame oil into a wok or frying pan and heat it
- Sauté chicken. Brown the outside but heat it through. (Let it brown then stir it around)
- Add garlic and scallions as you stir.
- Add tofu, mango and broccoli
- Add the soy, fish sauce and additional oil when it needs moisture.
- Add the curry and the sugar. When the sugar has melted toss in the quinoa.
- Heat it to warm and add the chopped nuts and cilantro
- If you want that fried rice kind of egg
- Crack it in a bowl and beat it with a fork
- Pour it into a hot pan preferably coated with sesame oil.
- Shake the pan until the egg is evenly spread and leave it alone on low heat.
- Once it looks solid, remove it from the heat
- When you slide it out of the pan it will be a thin sheet. Slice it and add it to your dish
If you want a bun, Hawaiian buns are perfect with these.
Alternatively, potato buns.
Lots of people also enjoy a mix of mayo and hot sauce on top with a slice of tomato.
- 1 c cooked quinoa
- 1 small sweet potato baked at 350 for about an hr
- 1 portobello mushroom
- 1/2 small zucchini grated
- 1 small shallot minced
- 3/4 c bread crumbs
- 3-6 Tbsp olive oil
- Cut the stem off of the portobello and mince it in the food processor
- Once you have grated the zucchini lay it on paper towels to drain the moisture.
- Sauté the shallot for 3 min in a pan with 1/2 of the olive oil
- Add the minced mushroom and zucchini
- Sauté for 4 min
- Scoop out 1/2 of the baked sweet potato and plop it into a large bowl (that’s right plop it, tech talk isn’t working for Scamper today)
- Add the quinoa and the sautéd veg
- Combine it with your hands and add the bread crumbs and incorporate them thoroughly
- Line or oil a baking sheet and preheat the oven to 350
- Mold patties with your hands. 4-6
- And place them on the baking sheet with some room in between
- Bake 10-15 min until firm and crisp on the outside.
- Use a spatula to remove them and place them on the buns. That way they won’t break
- 1 c cooked quinoa
- 1 c onions diced
- 1/4 c coarsely chopped roasted nuts. Almonds or cashews are what we use but pick your favorites
- 1/4 c dried cranberries (aka craisins)
- 1/4 c olive oil
- Coat the bottom of the sauté pan with olive oil
- Heat it
- Sauté the onions on a low temp until golden.
- Stir in the cranberries and nuts for 1 min or until you smell the warm nuts
- Add the quinoa and heat it to the desired temperature
- If the nuts weren’t already salted, you’ll probably want to add salt.
This is one of our favorites!
- 1 lb cleaned, deveined shrimp
- 1 1/2 c cooked quinoa
- 2 carrots peeled and julienned (cut into match sticks)
- 1 cucumber peeled and julienned
- 1 head Boston lettuce washed and separated into individual leaves
- Fresh basil leaves
- Fresh mint leaves
- Fresh cilantro
- 4 scallions washed and split into thirds
- 12 rice paper wraps
- 2-3 Tbsp dark sesame oil
- 1/4 c peanut butter
- 1/4 c water
- 1 Tbsp hoisin
- 1 tsp dark brown sugar
- 1 tsp hot sauce.
Mix everything in a bowl and serve.
- Heat the oven to 400
- Brush the shrimp with the sesame oil and place them on a baking sheet
- Bake them for 6-8 min until they are pink. Take them out and slit them in half lengthwise
- One at a time soak the rice paper in water. You can run them under the sink instead. You just have to saturate them before you can use them.
- Lay a wet wrap on a piece of parchment paper. They’re sticky and they rip easily so don’t use foil.
- Lay 1-2 lettuce leaves in the center of the wrap
Place about 3 shrimp in the middle of the lettuce. Line them up close together but lengthwise
- Use a large spoon and place 2-3 spoonfuls of quinoa in a line alongside the shrimp
- Place a few carrot sticks on one side
- And a few cucumber sticks on the other
- And a scallion slice in the middle
- Use a few leaves of each of the fresh herbs to cover the filling and wrap it up.
- 3/4 c cooked quinoa
- 1-2 cloves chopped garlic (we sauté garlic first)
- 2 egg whites (or whole eggs)
- 1/2 c Parmesan, grated
- Handful of fresh basil leaves minced
- 8 oz lump crab meat
- And up to 1/2 c crushed crackers
- 2c shredded baby spinach leaves
Option 1 c sautéed onions. Golden brown
- Combine the ingredients in a bowl
- Heat oven to 350
- Line or grease a baking sheet
- Mold the mix into patties
- Lay them on the sheet and flatten them
- Bake for 6-8 min until crispy.
- Flip them half way through
These are a terrific base for poached eggs
- 1 c Uncooked quinoa. Rinse well
- 4-5 c chicken stock. Simmering
- 2 sprigs fresh thyme
- 2 minced shallots
- 1 c dry white wine
- 1/4 c Parmesan
- 1/4 c shredded fontina
- 1/4 c crumbled Gorgonzola – or more mild cheese
- 2-3 Tbsp butter
- Melt the butter in a large skillet
- Sauté the shallots until translucent
- Add quinoa and thyme
- Stir until toasted. 3-5 min
- Add wine 1/2 c at a time and stir until it’s absorbed
- Add stock 1/2 c at a time.
- Stir until absorbed before adding more
- After about 20 min taste the quinoa for texture.
- Keep adding and stirring in the stock until it’s soft but not mushy
- Stir in the cheese and serve
Enjoy your quinoa