Quinoa mystery

If anyone out there has a good idea for making quinoa edible, please let me know.

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28 thoughts on “Quinoa mystery

  1. It is ALL about the Greens that you add to it and Fresh Corn..
    I like to make it as an addition to Salad… But caution.. it needs to be rinsed, rinsed and more rinsed before and after cooking because it often contains more sand than grain…
    also- I like a soy/rice wine dressing..

    • I bought par-cooked red quinoa in a box…it’s pretty far removed from sandy. Maybe the par-cooked isn’t any good? I should try other kinds before making up my mind.

  2. I love quinoa! I cook it in water or broth (usually veggie broth or chicken broth), then toss it with a little olive oil and lemon juice. Top it with veggies (I like sauteed onions and garlic, with wilted spinach or roasted broccoli or roasted Brussels sprouts), Parmesan cheese, and a sunny side up egg.
    It’s also good just cooked then topped with spicy tomato sauce, shrimp, and feta.

    • I keep finding recipes that tout it as a “superfood”, blah, blah, blah. Shelly’s idea of tomato, feta, & shrimp sounds good…but what does quinoa bring to the party other than starch & amino acids? Shrimp, tomato, & feta are PDG on their own. I’m looking for something to play to its natural strengths…

      • I agree that “superfood” is generally a misnomer, but it’s a whole grain rather than something uber processed and is relatively high in protein.
        I think that there are very few starches I would eat alone (I view them as sauce conveyance devices), so I’m not thinking of it as something that has to taste amazing by itself. But I really like the texture of quinoa, so for me, that’s what it brings to the table.

  3. definitely toast it first in whatever recipe you use. just put it in a skillet and wait for it to crackle. the flavor is amazing.

  4. This probably isn’t what you’re hoping for, but sometimes we substitute quinoa for rice when we’re having peas — crowders make a really nice pairing. I prefer this use of it to any of the sort-of salads or pilafs I’ve made from recipes. Those always seem sort of dull.

  5. PS: I find that quinoa has a subtle vegetal/earthly quality that matches the vegetal/earthy quality of peas.

    I’ve never tried the parboiled…I don’t think.

    It needs salt.

    • As it turned out, my quinoa wasn’t parboiled. I attempted a room-temp salady thing, with fresh corn kernels, diced tomato, a lime vinagrette: blech. If you took all of the little round hole-punches out of the three-ring punch at my office and boiled them for an hour, you’d have something decidedly more flavorful than quinoa.

      I can see how it would go nicely with crowders or lentils, and I will definitely try toasting it next time. But I won’t quit rice any time soon, lack of amino acids be damned.

  6. Hi. I have a recipe for a Quinoa salad that I love. My mother-in-law gave me the recipe. I am not sure where she got it. Hope you find it edible!

    Maranda
    Clinton, Louisiana

    Quinoa with Corn, Peppers, and Cilantro
    Serves 4
    1/2 c. cooked quinoa
    1 c. water
    1 c. diced red bell pepper
    1 c. corn
    1/2 c. chopped red onion
    1/2 c. chopped cilantro
    juice of 1 lime
    1/4 tsp. ground cumin
    3 T. olive oil
    salt and pepper

    Place quinoa in fine strainer and rinse thoroughly with cold water. In small saucepan, bring 1 cup water and the quinoa to a boil. Reduce flame to low, cover, and cook for 15 minutes or until grains are translucent and the germ has spiraled out from each grain. Transfer to a large bowl and chill. Add bell pepper, corn, onion, and cilantro to quinoa. Toss to combine.

    In a small bowl, whisk together the lime juice, cumin, and olive oil. Pour over quinoa mixture and toss well. Season with salt and pepper.

    • Thanks for posting the recipe…I tried a similar thing yesterday, and I was turned off by the texture of the boiled quinoa. Other posters’ suggestions of toasting first, and par-boiling then steaming (like couscous) might produce a texture more appealing to me.

  7. I really enjoy using quinoa as substitute for couscous and as a hearty base for salads because, in addition to being a starch, it is also high in protein (a “complete protein,” whatever that may mean).

    I’ve enjoyed several four-fork rated recipes from Epicurious and this is among my favorites: http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Quinoa-with-Corn-Scallions-and-Mint-235480

    Good luck! Hope you find something good enough to write about – I love reading your blog.

    • This recipe’s technique for preparing the quinoa shows a bit of promise: par-boiling, then steaming…I’d imagine the texture would be significantly better than my boiled-to-mushy-weirdness attempt.

  8. I’ve used it as a substitute for couscous in room temp salads. However, Jamie doesn’t like the texture of regular tiny couscous anyway, he finds it sandy too, so we use Israeli couscous instead.

  9. Do not, I repeat, do not boil in plain water. This stuff begs you to flavor it from the start. Boiling in some type of broth, depending on your pairing, is definitely the way to go. We also find it is not quite a 2-1 ratio, I would go a little shy on the liquid.
    I am going to try the toasting next time. We paired it with a sesame fish dish and tossed the quinoa with a toasted sesame oil and SALT. It was pretty good, but I think adding the step of toasting the quinoa prior to cooking would clinch it.
    Good luck!

    • Yeah, I boiled it in plain water, a 2:1 ratio. Tasted like shredded packing peanuts, or maybe like steamed mulch. I can see using it in brothy soups, though.

  10. I made this recipe a few weeks ago and it was pretty good. Not the typical way you think of quinoa, but I found it tasty. And i just used whole foods bulk quinoa, cooked as follows: Boil two cups of water for one cup of quinoa. Put lid to cook and let it simmer for 12 to 15 minutes or until the germ separates from the seed. Remove it from heat and let it stand for about 3 minutes to become fluffy.

    Anyway, here is the recipe:

  11. Used a recipe from John Currence that was in last month’s Food and Wine. Basically involved making your quinoa and then folded in a pesto. Served it alongside some curry marinated and broiled chicken thighs.

    The brightness from the herbs helps, but I really think it is the saltiness from the parm and the acid from the lemon that makes quinoa palatable.

    • The consensus seems to be: major salt is required. Quinoa seems to be a cousin to grits in this respect–utterly bland & boring, verging on inedible, unless some seriously salty & gutsy flavors are added to the stuff.

    • Interesting stuff in the “Recipes for Health” section….the Andean bean stew looks pretty good. (Side note: my favorite foods won’t ever make anyone’s “health” section…HA. Now, if the Times puts together a “Powered by Pork Fat” section, I’ll be a frequent reader.)

      • Yeah, they forgot cheese and beer too.

        I find myself consulting the bean section most frequently, for ideas for side dishes. I’ve had good luck there.

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