When I started this Healthy Living thing I thought eating whole wheat pasta was the key. It was better than the white past and white rice I had been eating and it didn’t take forever to cook like brown rice. Score! But then I got bored with it very quickly. Enter Trader Joe’s and their plethora of grains and pastas to choose from. Quinoa…what’s that…never mind how do you pronounce it?
I soon learned it was Keen-wa and you need to rinse it first so it doesn’t taste like dirty soap (I made that mistake the first time and almost swore it off). But the stuff took so dang long to cook like brown rice that I hardly made it. Until I learned you could refrigerate it for up to one week and freeze it FOREVER…kind of like the shelf life of a twinkie 🙂 And the rice cooker made cooking it and brown rice so simple. I have an awesome rice cooker that you can set a delay time on and it will be done whenever you want and will keep it warm until you are ready for it.
So in my plan precook meals making my vegetarianism, need for fun food and crazy life easier I decided quinoa would definitely bet top on my list. So I premade 4 cups of it and set to using it this past week. I used it for a base to a chili mixture I made but didn’t take a picture. It was just a bunch of beans from my pantry…yes this one…
It ended up looking something like this…
Of course it’s not exactly this because that grain is couscous but you get the idea.
I make a great black bean southwest quinoa salad but once again I’m a bad food blogger and don’t take pictures of food before eating it. But it is full of roasted red peppers, black beans, roasted corn, lime, cilantro and cummin. I love it but Hunni hates it because he’s not a fan of lime. So I usually just make it for friends. Something else I used it for was to bulk up salads. It gives a different texture and helps fill me up too. So I start with a base of mixed greens and add the quinoa to the top.
Then the toppings are endless. For me anything in the fridge is fair game for a salad. Today was an omelettey thing. I used my George to make it fun.
I think I added smoked gouda, mushrooms and leftover quesadilla toppings. Then I threw it on top of the salad.
Salad dressings are not my friend with all the hidden sugars so I stuck with an old friend of mine.
The finished product was great! And it kept me full for hours.
I also love using my quinoa for breakfast. Half a cup of cold quinoa, half a cup of almond milk, 1 tbsp pumpkin butter and a big dash of cinnamon.
Throw it all in a bowl and microwave for about two minutes until nice and hot.
Then the important part is to let it rest. The quinoa is already cooked but it will absorb the liquid if you let it rest. Trust me on this. I know you are hungry in the morning but leave it in the microwave if you are impatient.
When its ready dig in. It will have firmed up a bit but it will be spicy sweet. And the grains will have absorbed the cinnamon and pumpkin taste.
And yes I am the kind of girl who hoards pumpkin butter from the fall to hopefully make it last until next fall.
This breakfast may make me use up my stash quicker than I hoped. But it is so worth it.
So there are a few of my options. I have a few others but these are my favorites now.
Do you use quinoa? Got any recipes to share?