{Ingredient Obsession: Quinoa}

Quinoa is a staple in my kitchen.

  • It can be made in a pinch and cooks up fluffy, slightly crunch and nutty in flavour
  • It’s a complete protein (contains all 9 essential amino acids)
  • It adds bulk to your salads = staying power to keep you going through the day
  • It’s a super versatile grain that can be made savoury or sweet
It is commonly known as a grain even though its not from the grass family (its a relative to spinach and swiss chard). It has a great nutrient profile compared to other cereal grains, containing calcium, phosphorus, manganese (good for people prone to migraines) and iron. It was known as “The Gold of the Incas” because it was recognized for its value in increasing the stamina of warriors. This past week, I’ve cooked it up asian style..

Tossed with chunks of oven baked smoked tofu, crunchy green beans, ribbons of red cabbage and black sesame seeds.

And dressed in a Ginger Lemon Vinaigrette (adapted 101 Cookbooks)

  • Grated zest of 1 lemon
  • Fresh ginger, cut into a 1-inch cube, peeled, and grated
  • 1 tablespoon honey
  • 3/4 teaspoon cayenne
  • 3/4 teaspoon fine-grain sea salt
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
  • 1/4 cup unseasoned brown-rice vinegar
  • 1/3 cup shoyu sauce (wheat-free soy sauce)
  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons toasted sesame oil
Make the dressing by combining the zest, ginger, honey, cayenne, and salt in a food processor (or use a hand blender) and process until smooth. Add the lemon juice, rice vinegar, and shoyu, and pulse to combine. With the machine running, drizzle in the oils.

It’s makes a great base to a post run recovery meal. This past Tuesday I got home at about 9pm from the gym and whipped up this colourful salad in a mere 5 minutes. The key is cook up a big batch of quinoa which you can store an airtight container for your meals during the week. You can also keep them longer in freezer bags and defrost as needed.

Fact: Quinoa contains lysine which is essential for tissue growth and repair.

In the mix:

  • baby arugula
  • raw pumpkin seeds
  • golden and red cherry tomatoes
  • light ricotta
  • fresh dill
  • veggie quinoa pilaf (quinoa mixed with leftover roasted vegetables)
  • good extra virgin olive oil + fresh lemon juice

Gobbled down in record time..

And quinoa is not just for savoury dishes. You can also bake them into cookies and call them breakfast! Yea you can…

Mixed in with chopped dried apricots and caramel like dates for chewy sweetness.

Along with oats, a generous amount of calcium packed sesame seeds for a hearty grab-n-go breakie as you rush out the door in the morning (like I’ve been doing lately…damn you daylight savings time..) 

Date Sesame Quinoa Cookies (adapted from Bon Appetit)

  • 1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
  • 1/2 cup almond meal
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 cup cooked quinoa, cooled
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1/2 cup sesame seeds
  • 1 cup dried fruit (dates & apricots)
Preheat oven to 375°. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Whisk flour, almond meal, salt, cinnamon, baking powder, and baking soda in a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat butter, both sugars, and honey in a large bowl until light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add eggs and extracs; beat until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Beat in flour mixture, 1/2 cup at a time. Stir in quinoa, oats, dried fruit and sesame seeds. Spoon dough in 2-tablespoon portions onto prepared sheets, spacing 1” apart.
Bake cookies until golden, 12–15 minutes. Transfer cookies to a wire rack and let cool. DO AHEAD: Store cooled cookies airtight at room temperature for 1 day, or freeze for up to 1 month.
8 Responses to “{Ingredient Obsession: Quinoa}”
  1. All of these quinoa recipes look fantastic. Your photos are lovely and all of the colors look so nice. Thanks for the great recipes!

  2. Great post! Your photos are awesome and recipes sound wonderful. I have an abundance of quinoa in my pantry as well!

  3. Tatiana says:

    Oooh I need to tell you about my new favorite quinoa dish – take hot quinoa and sprinkle with shoyu/tamari/soy sauce, a few drops of sesame oil, a tbsp or two of ponzu sauce, and hot chili oil. Top with sliced avocado and/or nori strips. I came across this recipe in another blog, and have made it weekly since. It’s earthy, and fragrant and spicy and full of umami and oh so good.

  4. Mallory says:

    It is especially good sprouted. Just soak the quinoa in water overnight, drain, rinse and let it sit, covered, in a dark place for a few days. Then you can make a dressing and use it in salads, sandwiches or whatever you like.

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