Tuesday, October 11, 2011


To save money and make lunch a little more palatable, lately I’ve been looking for recipes that are basic and easy to make in bulk (this, surprisingly, is an upgrade from what I've been doing) so that I can take a portion to work each day. Nutrition is also a concern, so my I figured the recipes would be based around staples such as whole grain pasta, whole grain rice, salmon, boneless chicken, lentils, and quinoa, Yes, quinoa. What is it? Well, recipe-wise it kind of works like a grain, but it’s not technically a grain or cereal because it’s not a grass. It’s pronounced keen-wah and it’s actually a chenopod, which means it’s closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. With that kind of family, you know it’s gotta be good. And it is, as it’s one of the very few plant foods to offer a full complement of proteins (that is, 9 essential amino acids). Other fun facts: ~99% of it is grown in Peru and Bolivia, the conquistadores forbid its production for a time, it was held sacred by the Incas, and, because of its high magnesium content, it's especially beneficial to those who suffer from migraines.

I came across it when I was on a (finding-the-essence-of-everything) health kick a year or two back. I’d basically buy rye, barley, and other such things, boil them, and see what a bowl of it tasted like. It was fine and everything, but the idea lay dormant until recently when my girlfriend got on board this new health recipe kick of mine, and insisted we actually add stuff (like, say, spices, beans, and veggies) to complement these basic materials. Women are very good for we men. So, we found this quinoa recipe and loved it, so I thought I’d throw it up here. It’s simple, nutritious, and tasty. Here are the ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 cloves garlic, peeled and chopped
  • 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable broth
  • 1 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup frozen corn kernels
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

And here are the directions:

· Heat the oil in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Stir in the onion and garlic, and saute until lightly browned.

· Mix quinoa into the saucepan and cover with vegetable broth. Season with cumin, cayenne pepper, salt, and pepper. Bring the mixture to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes,

· Stir frozen corn into the saucepan, and continue to simmer about 5 minutes until heated through. Mix in the black beans and cilantro.

Check out the whole thing (and 1724 quinoa comments) here. If you have any favorite healthy, easy, and tasty recipes, please share 'em.

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