By contributing writer Meagan Newsome of Frugal Fun & Fortune
As a Vegetarian, I have become a lover of the mysterious grain-like substance known as quinoa. Quinoa is a pretty quirky food. The very first experience with quinoa is always fun. You can’t help but stare at the tiny, perfectly-spherical objects on the plate. And then there are the crazy little spirals that add just enough chaos into the mix. Sometimes quinoa is white; other times it’s red. You chew on a spoonful and discover a satisfying crunchiness. What is it, exactly?
Quinoa is actually a seed, rather than a grain. It has the properties of a whole grain, though. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning it has all 9 essential amino acids in it. That is pretty difficult to find in foods other than meat. That is why it is such a perfect food for Vegetarians.
Quinoa has so much going for it. The health benefits are incredible. In addition to the high protein content mentioned above, it is rare to find a bag of store-bought quinoa that is not organic. It is also gluten-free and cholesterol-free. Quinoa is so quick and easy to make, especially compared to rice. It takes all of about 15 minutes to cook up a big pot of quinoa.
Finally, quinoa is SO versatile. It can be used in so many different ways: as a substitute for rice, in casseroles, on its own with a bit of lemon juice and salt, as a taco filling, to make a fruit salad protein-packed, mixed up with nuts and vegetables, in a cold salad (as a substitute for pasta), stuffed inside peppers, or even as a base for curries.
Even more surprising… did you know that quinoa can be a breakfast food? That’s right – it can be eaten just like oatmeal! And it is simply delightful.
If you do a quick search of the internet, you will find hundreds of different quinoa breakfast recipes. Here’s my personal favorite:
Breakfast Quinoa With Almonds and Cranberries:
- 1 cup Quinoa
- 2 cups Water
- 1/2 cup dried cranberries (craisins)
- 1/2 cup almonds
- 1 cinnamon stick
- brown sugar
- ground cinnamon
- Rinse the quinoa in a mesh strainer. This is a really important step, because quinoa has a bitter coating on it that needs to be washed away before cooking.
- Toast the almonds on the stove in a pot until golden brown and fragrant, stirring continuously. (Medium heat)
- Add the quinoa in with the almonds and toast for a couple of minutes, stirring continuously. (Medium heat)
- Add the water, cranberries, and cinnamon stick. Stir slightly to combine ingredients (but not too much).
- Cover the pot. Bring mixture to a boil, and then reduce heat to low and simmer for about 15-20 minutes. (Look for the spirals to open up. That’s your key that the quinoa is finished cooking. Remember that mushy quinoa is not very good. The nutty texture is the best part!)
- Drain any water that remains.
- Transfer quinoa to single serving bowls. Sprinkle just a bit of brown sugar and cinnamon on top, just to sweeten it to your liking.
- Enjoy!! Feel free to add a splash of milk, if you’d like.
So how about starting your morning off right? With a protein-packed, healthy, and delicious bowl of quinoa!
Linked to: Tasty Tuesday
About Meagan Newsome
Meagan authors Frugal Fun & Fortune, where she writes about saving money, giving to others, delicious Vegetarian recipes, simple living, and her life adventures. Her greatest passions include chasing after God wholeheartedly, social justice and being a good wife. You can connect with her on Facebook and Twitter.
Read more by Meagan -> | Blog