Not only is quinoa delicious, it is high in protein, fiber and iron, and it’s gluten free. Quinoa has every one of the nine essential amino acids. These nine essential amino acids are the ones that your body cannot synthesize in quantities sufficient to sustain good health, so they need to come from food sources. It is also reported to help migraine headaches, because it is a great source of magnesium, a mineral that helps relax blood vessels, preventing the constriction and rebound dilation characteristic of migraines. Low dietary levels of magnesium can also lead to hypertension, ischemic heart disease, and heart arrhythmias. Quinoa is good for the heart.
Many people think that quinoa is a type of grain, but it’s not. Quinoa is actually the seed of a plant related to spinach. This food staple is grown in the mountains of Ecuador and was once called “the gold of the Inca’s” because it increased stamina. At that time, the Incas didn’t know about quinoa’s nutritional facts or amino acids.
So now that you know how super quinoa is for you, try one of these unique recipes.
Pineapple Quinoa Boat
1 1/2 cup fresh pineapple, diced
4 cups cooked quinoa
1/2 red onion, diced
1 cup Shiitake mushrooms
1 cup kale, shredded
1/4 cup nutritional yeast
1/2 tsp dried jalapeno
1/2 cup finely diced pineapple
2 Tbsp mint, chopped
2 Tbsp Tahini
3 Tbsp pineapple juice
to taste: splash of tamari, fine black pepper, and pinch of salt
- Cook your quinoa. I used 1 1/4 cups dry quinoa + 1 cup water + 1 cup veggie broth + pinch salt. Set cooked quinoa aside.
- Put Quinoa, diced pineapple (not the finely chopped), red onion, shiitake mushrooms, 1 Tbsp mint, kale, nutritional yeast and jalapeno to the pan with a splash of safflower oil. Turn heat to high and cook for about 3 minutes – moving quinoa around so it cooks on all sides. A few crisped bits of quinoa is a good thing. Add a splash of tamari, black pepper and salt to taste. Transfer the fried quinoa to a bowl. Set aside.
- Quickly sauté the 1/2 cup finely diced pineapple to add as a garnish later. Just brown the edges a bit. The pineapple will pick up the flavor left in the pan. Set aside.
- Mix the tahini, pineapple juice, and chopped mint for the sauce, and set aside.
- To plate you spoon in the quinoa mix into a pre-hollowed pineapple. Then add the pineapple garnish over top. Sprinkle 1 Tbsp fresh chopped mint on top. You can serve with the dressing on the side or you can add right over top this dish.
Italian Quinoa Cakes
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 flax egg (1 tbsp of ground flaxseed with 3 tbsp of hot water)
1/2 cup almond flour
2 green onions sliced thinly
2 Tbsp sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
8 fresh basil leaves, chopped
1/2 cup Daiya mozzarella Cheese-Style Shreds (or “real” mozzarella if that floats your boat)
1/2 tsp sea salt, 1/2 tsp black pepper and 1/2 tsp cayenne
1 tsp olive oil, for cooking
- Place all ingredients in a large bowl and stir well to combine.
- Form compact cakes with about 1/2 cup of the mix per cake.
- Heat a frying pan over medium heat with 1 tsp olive oil.
- Place quinoa cakes in the pan and cook about 4-5 minutes per side, until golden brown.
- Serve over a bed of salad.
Quinoa Brazil Nut Paella
1 cup whole grain quinoa
1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
1/2 orange, juiced (about 1/4 cup juice)
1/2 orange de-seeded and diced
2 tsp orange and lemon rind zest
1 lemon, juiced
1 bag frozen mixed organic veggies (peas, corn, carrots)
1 large onion, chopped
2 white button mushrooms, chopped
7 cloves garlic, chopped thickly
1/2 Serrano pepper, roasted, de-seeded and chopped
1/2 cup Brazil nuts, chopped
2 Tbsp olive oil
2 Tbsp vegan buttery spread
2 bay leaves
1/4 teaspoon saffron strands
1 tsp cayenne
generous black pepper
sea salt to taste
- Rinse and dry quinoa with cold water. Set aside.
- Juice, chop and zest the orange.
- Juice and zest the lemon.
- Chop onion, garlic, mushrooms and Brazil nuts.
- De-seed and slice Serrano pepper. Roast strips of pepper.
- Microwave frozen veggies for two minutes (or thaw on counter prior to use)
In soup pan:
- Add oil, vegan spread, a pinch of salt and pepper.
- Turn heat to high-until oil sizzles.
- Add onion, garlic, pepper, Brazil nuts and bay leaves.
- Saute for a few minutes, on medium heat.
- Add chopped orange and orange zest.
- Saute uncovered for an additional few minutes.
- Fold in 3/4 package of frozen veggies (thawed or warmed).
- Add lemon juice.
- Saute on medium-high for five minutes, stirring constantly.
- When all ingredients are cooked through and slightly browned, remove 1/2 of veggies from pot. Set aside, covered.
- Turn heat to high and add veggie broth, cayenne, saffron and orange juice.
Bring to boil.
- (Yes, half the portion of veggies will still be in the pot.)
- Add dry quinoa and stir.
- Reduce heat, cover pot, and simmer for 10-15 minutes.
- Stir occasionally.
- When quinoa has absorbed all the liquid, remove cover and fold in remaining veggies to pot.
- Re-cover and allow to cook on low heat for five minutes. (This should add a nice browning effect to the bottom layer of quinoa.
- Fluff finished quinoa with fork.
- Remove bay leaves before serving.
- Serve hot. Garnish with grated/chopped raw Brazil nuts.
Thanks to http://kblog.lunchboxbunch.com/2009/03/recipe-vegan-quinoa-brazil-nut-paella.html for the paella recipe.