Quinoa 101: How to Make & Love Quinoa

designSo, many people ask me about Quinoa, pronounced Keen-Wah, as they often see it in my photos and meal plans. It’s also got a lot of interest, when I shared that it is part of my Top 8 Foods to Eat to Get Abs. So I wanted to share a bit more information about this staple in my nutrition and how to make it and love it!

What is Quinoa? 

It is actually a grain, not rice, as most people think, and it is gluten free and cholesterol free. It’s also a “complete protein” so it is perfect for vegans and vegetarians who need more protein in their diet.  A complete protein means that it is complete with all nine essential amino acids, plus it is also a great source of magnesium, potassium, fiber, iron and Vitamins B & E.

How to Cook Quinoa? 

It’s actually pretty simple to cook quinoa. Since it does a peculiar taste, I prepare it to be packed with flavor, as it will absorb whatever flavors are added to it.

  • 1 Cup of Quinoa (I like to give mine a nice rinse before I actually cook it, just to remove any residue and to give it a cleaner taste
  • 1.5 Cups of Organic Broth – I typically use chicken or vegetable, but if you are cooking it to accompany a heartier meal you could use beef stock
  • .5 Cups of Water
  • 1 Tsp of Olive Oil

Add all of those contents to a pot and bring to a boil, once it boils, reduce to a low to medium low setting and stir occasionally until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa becomes fluffy and translucent.  That’s how you know it’s ready.

You can also add any seasonings or spices to the pot, if you would like.  For example, my aunt adds curry powder to her Quinoa.  I’ve also added garlic and rosemary or other herbs depending on how I serving it.  But that’s it pretty simple right?

What do you do with it? 

10409644_10106927488234934_150445255685398379_nI love to serve Quinoa as a side dish to chicken or fish, but I also love to make spruce things up, and I create various different types of pilafs or salads.  Here are some suggestions for you to use to make as standalone meals or side dishes that are picky eater approved!

  • 2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa, 2 Cups of Shredded or Diced Chicken Breast, 1 Cup of Diced Roasted Sweet Potatoes, 2 Handfuls of Sauteed Kale and 1/2 cup of Dried Cranberries (Pictured to the left – Click for recipe)
  • 2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa, 1 Cup of Diced Cucumbers, 1 Cup of Cherry Tomatoes, 1/2 Cup of Red Onions, 1/2 Cup of Feta Cheese & Greek Salad Dressing (used sparingly)
  • 2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa, 2 Cups of Roasted Veggies, Balsamic Vinaigrette Dressing (used sparingly)
  • 2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa, 1 Cup of Shredded or Diced Chicken Breast, 1 Cup of Diced Tomatoes, 1 Cup of Chopped fresh mozzarella, Pesto Sauce (used sparingly)
  • 2 Cups of Cooked Quinoa, 2 Cooked Salmon Filets (flaked),  and sauté 2 Handfuls of Chopped Kale, 1 Onion, diced, 1 Cup of Cherry Tomatoes, 1 clove of garlic (crushed). Serve with a mustard or champagne vinaigrette (used sparingly).

All of these dishes make about 4 – 6 servings, so you can have them as full meals or as sides.

Bonus Points: 

If you are not quite sure how you want to use your Quinoa throughout the week, just make a double serving and store it in the fridge and then section it out through the week and just add in the ingredients listed above or get creative and add your own.

Hopefully, this is helpful for you as you venture out to try something new! For more Clean Eating Guidelines and Recipes, check out my Clean Eating Guide. 

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