Saturday, January 19, 2013

Let Me Tell You ‘Bout My Best Friend…

There are a lot of really great foods that came into my life two years ago when I gave up gluten and animal products. And I do mean a lot. One of my favorites, though, is absolutely, hands down QUINOA.

Quinoa is incredibly good for you. It's high in protein (it's actually a complete protein!), fiber, and low in fat. It also happens to very easy to make and super versatile. No kidding, I seriously eat it about four times a week.

But how to cook it?

When it is cooked plain, it's less than delightful, but if you know what you're doing, it quickly becomes a staple food item! 

Here are my two favorite ways to prepare it:

1) This is so easy, it's hardly a recipe: 

1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
1 cup water (or vegetable broth)
1/2 tsp vegetable bouillon (omit if using broth)
~ 1/2  tbs oil (your choice!)
~ 1/4 onion, chopped (or more or less to taste) :) 
a few mushrooms (optional)

In a small/medium sized pot (with lid), heat oil over medium heat. Add in onion and mushroom (if you're using any) and sauté for a a few minutes. Then, add in the uncooked quinoa and stir it all together. Continue sautéing for a couple more minutes. Add in the water and bring to boil. Add in the bouillon. Stir. Turn to low, cover, and allow to simmer for about 15 minutes, until the water has absorbed. (You want a tiny amount of water dotted around the bottom of the pan, ideally.) Leave the lid on for about five more minutes, then serve! This is a great, simple way to make quinoa for most meals. It's a great addition to a meal full of veggies of any kind, cooked any way. 
(Serves about 2)

2) This is another non-recipe that is entirely customizable to your own preferences. Personally, I am obsessed with Mexican food, which is how this particular way of cooking quinoa came to be.

1/2 cup quinoa (uncooked)
~ 1 tsp of your favorite salsa seasoning packet
1 cup water

Add all ingredients into pot and bring to boil. Then lower heat to simmer and cover with a lid, for about 15 minutes, until water has absorbed. Then, remove from heat and keep covered for about 5 minutes before adding to your favorite Mexican dish.

This is really great for tacos, enchiladas, nachos, and burritos! Use with black beans, onion, and lettuce. Viola! A fancy meal!

These are some of my favorite tacos! They have the Mexican quinoa, seasoned black beans, caramelized onions, lettuce, and some taco seasoning. Seriously, quinoa is so easy and scrumptious! You are sure to love it!

Happy quinoa cooking!