Let's Talk Quinoa

The first time I ever tired quinoa, I was about 13 years old & I HATED it. My dad had cooked the quinoa in this ginger water and the harsh flavor mixed with the protein-packed grain crop was much too much for my young palate. However, as I've gotten older and went through culinary school, I'm starting to appreciate the diversity of these little edible seeds. I'd like to share with you all two of my favorite ways to prepare and enjoy quinoa!

When I started this whole weight-loss journey, I knew that my appetite was still going to be very strong, so I was going to need to fill my diet with a lot of protein in order to fill up faster. Quinoa was such a good choice for me. I started off by just cooking large batches of quinoa every week to have at my disposal in the fridge. 

Quinoa is cooked with a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to liquid. It is extremely important to first thoroughly rinse your quinoa, otherwise you might be biting into a mouthful of "grit" & no one wants that. Once rinsed, you can start to cook! Most of the time, quinoa is just cooked in water or chicken stock. You combine the quinoa and liquid in a sauce pot and once the two ingredients start to boil, lower the heat to a simmer and cover the pot with a lid. As soon as the liquid is absorbed, you're ready to rock!

When eating quinoa for breakfast, I like to cook it in coconut water or coconut milk. I prefer the coconut milk, even though it becomes a bit thick. I definitely wouldn't serve quinoa that thick in a restaurant, but at home, I really like it. I eat it cold with fresh fruit in the morning. It's like eating oatmeal, but jam packed with coconut flavor. It's also a great way to start your day if you don't like eggs! In 1 cup of cooked quinoa, there is 8g of protein!

My other favorite way to utilize quinoa is in what I like to call "garbage salads." While this may not sound appetizing, keep it mind it's more of a metaphor. When I cook quinoa with just water, I then like to throw a bit into my salad. Quinoa just gives your salad that little something extra! Now, by "garbage salad," I mean that I just like to combine whatever I have in the fridge. Broccoli, peppers, mushrooms, avocados, you name it! I like to dice it all up relatively small and add my favorite salad dressing with the quinoa and choice of greens. For me, nothing beats a Tablespoon or two of Red Wine Vinegar or Fresh Lemon Juice with a heavy sprinkle of garlic salt (my guilty pleasure) and a solid dash of white pepper. Three simple ingredients to make a light and refreshing salad!

Eating healthy doesn't have to be hard. It also doesn't have to be boring. The more you educate yourself about food, the easier it is to create a healthy lifestyle for yourself. Grains, I think are a completely underrated food. Quinoa, barley, steel cut oats, brown rice, bulgur, wheat berry, these are all grains that you can eat that trick your body into thinking that it is still eating all of those unhealthy carbs that we all know and love. However, the reality is that these grains are good for your body and they won't make you gain unwanted weight!

I'd love to hear all of your recipes for quinoa if you have any. Please feel free to comment & share. The more we share recipes and test things out, the more we will know how to eat right! Next time you're in your local health food store, take a gander at the grain section and buy something you're not familiar with. There are so many great options out there, you just have to be willing to try them! I hope you all are enjoying this blog as much as I am!

Happy recipe testing! I'm off to go hiking!