Last year I came across the Quinoa (pronounced keen-wha) also known as the super grain craze. I first tried it in a salad I purchased at our local Whole Foods. By golly I fell in love with it and knew I had to have more! I absolutely love it and I especially love how easy it is to make. Since then I’ve made several different dishes with this hearty grain. I thought it would be a good idea to introduce you to it (if you haven’t already heard of it) and share some great simple recipes to try asap! The recipes featured make for great side dishes or a fantastic lunch.
Mediterranean Quinoa Salad This is probably my favorite Quinoa recipe thus far. It has ALL the ingredients I love of a great salad. It makes for the perfect packing dish for spring and summer picnics! recipe via Cooktoria
Quinoa Fried Rice This is another favorite of mine. I LOVE Chinese food and the Quinoa in this recipe more than makes up for the absence of rice. It’s the real deal and so much better! recipe via Living Sweet Moments
Cilantro-Lime Black Bean Quinoa Salad I love how this salad brings out the latin flavors I enjoy so much in foods. The cilantro is my favorite herb to cook with, so fragrant and tasty and the beans help add another layer of protein. recipe via Simply Quinoa
Warm Quinoa & Chicken I’ve made this amazing Quinoa recipe many times already and I gotta tell ya, leftovers are even better! I double the recipe in order to get more out of it. I also made it with different veggies and it’s become a family favorite. recipe via Martha Stewart
Cranberry Quinoa Salad with Walnuts This is a great winter-ish type of dish. Although you can easily find the cranberries and walnuts any time of year the dish is hearty and very much like a winter comfort food. I skipped making candied walnuts. I just roasted the walnuts instead for a more nutty flavor without the sugar. recipe via Peas & CrayonsAs you can see these recipes are quite simple to make and the ingredients are all readily available. Although these fall in the ‘salad’ category they make great side dishes!
Fun facts: Quinoa has been consumed for thousands of years in South America, although it only became trendy and reached “superfood status” a few years ago. These days, you can find quinoa all over the world especially in health food stores and restaurants that emphasize natural foods. There are three main types: white, red and black.image via Authority Nutrition
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E, and fiber. It is one of only a few plant foods that are considered a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids.
featured image by Martha Stewart