Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine

Quinoa: Cook Once Eat Twice

courtesy of Colombe Jacobsen-Derstine

Quinoa may be the next best thing to rice or couscous, especially because it’s just as easy to prepare. Boil water with dried quinoa and it’s ready in 15 minutes or less. And while it’s rich in protein and nutrient dense, quinoa is frequently on my dinner table simply because I love its delicious, nutty taste.

 

So this week I’m doubling up on the quinoa for two days of delicious salads.

 

First, though, a bit of  quinoa backstory. Quinoa originated in South America and is commonly found in Peruvian, Bolivian, and Ecuadoran cuisine. But these days you can find it foods from all over the world.

 

Some boxed varieties of quinoa come pre-rinsed, but if you don’t pick up that type, give your quinoa a good rinse—that will remove a naturally occurring layer of bitterness resulting from the harvesting process. I alternate between red and yellow varieties, which are interchangeable and similar in taste. But it’s nice to add different colors to my meals. (Interesting factoid: Even though it’s considered a grain, quinoa is is not a true grain because it isn’t a member of the grass family. It’s actually a seed from the goosefoot family of herbaceous plants.)

 

And now, to dinner!

 

Day One: I doubled the amount of quinoa I cooked for a quintessentially spring dinner so I’d have enough for lunch the next day. A Quinoa Salad with Sugar Snap Peas hit the spot.  The crisp-tender sugar snaps offer a perfect contrast to the earthiness of quinoa. And on a bed of this salad I served a roasted salmon filet to round off the meal.

 

Day Two: For lunch, I’m tossing the quinoa into one of my favorite salads: Goat Cheese and Roasted Beet Salad with Lemon Vinaigrette. The recipe for this salad doesn’t call for quinoa, but adding it makes a more protein-packed and satisfying meal. Plus, quinoa’s texture and deep flavor add a substantive note to an otherwise very light lunch. Quinoa makes a great addition to almost any salad, so go ahead and toss some in with your everyday greens.

 

Try these other quinoa recipes:

• Quinoa Stuffed Peppers

• Quinoa and Red Bean Burritos

• Greek Quinoa and Avocados

 

 

 

 

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