“Kwin-no-a”…crud! That’s not right. “Quin-oh-ah…?” No. I am still not saying it right. Well, it’s tough to say, but easy to cook and very, very good for you. It’s called Quinoa, and it is a whole grain that is high in protein, and high in fiber. And as a bonus, it is gluten free, for those of you who have to worry about that.
I have never seen quinoa on a menu in a restaurant, nor heard a commercial extolling it’s virtue. None of my friends have ever cooked it or tried it. How could I live to be 46 years old and never heard of this food before?
Quinoa is a very small seed like grain that looks like sesame seeds. It comes in white or in red. (I bought Eden brand Organic quinoa in white at my local grocery store) A recommended serving size is 1/4 cup dry quinoa, which cooks to about 3/4 cup. The consistency of the cooked quinoa is unique. It is soft and fluffy, but has a firm round feeling in your mouth. They felt like little mini-tapioca pearls.
For my first receipe using quinoa, I created my own dinner receipe. And I was so pleased with the results!
Sauteed Shrimp with Quinoa
- 1 cup dry quinoa
- 1 1/14 cup of water
- 1/2 tsp salt
- 12 ounces raw shrimp
- 1 cup broccoli (any vegies you have available will work)
- 1/4 cup chopped onion
- 1/2 red bell pepper, chopped
- 1/2 yellow bell pepper, chopped
- 2 tbs olive oil
- 1/2 can of non-fat chicken stock
- Garlic Powder (to taste)
- Red Pepper flakes (to taste)
- Salt and Pepper (to taste)
- Rinse the dry quinoa with cold water a few times. (Tip: my colander had huge holes, so I lined it with a clean cloth, which worked great) In a medium sized sauce pan, bring water to boil. Add the rinsed quinoa, reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes.
- Meanwhile, heat a large saucepan to medium high (7/8) and add the olive oil. Add the onion, bell pepper and saute for just a few minutes. Quickly add the shrimp, and “stir fry” the ingredients together. When the shrimp is turned pink/white and loses translucency, add the chicken stock and spices. Stir together.
- Check on the quinoa. The water should be absorbed, and the “seeds” round and a little chewy. Dump the cooked quinoa into the pan with the shrimp mixture. Stir together and cover. Reduce heat. Allow the flavors to permeate the quinoa for a few minutes before serving. Makes 4 servings.
So here is what I have discovered: Quinoa is pretty flexible. You can cook quinoa for breakfast, and add sweet things like raisens, brown sugar, fresh fruit. And you can add savory flavors for lunch or dinner, and add a protein, garlic, vegetables. It is nutritious, easy to cook, and can replace any receipe where you would normally use rice. All you need now is how to ask for quinoa at the store. Just ask for “keen-wa”. Ta-da!
For more receipes: http://www.cookingquinoa.net/quinoa-recipes/
Nutritional Information for Quinoa: Calories: 170 Fat: 2.5g cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 0mg Total Carb: 31g Dietary Fiber: 4g Protein: 5g
Holly is the mother of three grown daughters, and has recently embarked on her own journey of weight loss and healthy living. Convinced that the key to her success is smart, but manageable, eating choices, she is now a regular columnist for The Frugal Flambe- you can catch her posts every Friday right here! Join her every week as she shares her triumphs and successes, and maybe a couple of stumbles along the way. Eating healthy doesn’t have to be horrible- Holly can do it, and so can you.