Keen on Quinoa

1 Apr

Did you know it is pronounced “Key – nwa”?

Quinoa is a small pseudo grain that looks like couscous and has a little crunch like grits. Apparently it’s really healthy as well, being a complete protein source (containing all the amino acids needed by humans.) I think I first started craving quinoa when I ran across a random post on reddit about cooking for someone’s obese mother and convincing her to eat healthy. A very simple recipe was suggested: boiled quinoa mixed with salt and jalapenos. And that got me started.

I’ve made two batches of quinoa, the first day with chicken and the second day with tofu and fish. And to add flavor to it, I’ve started using onions and jalapenos in almost everything I cook. Jalapenos will be an obligatory ingredient in my kitchen, right next to my onions, potatoes and garlic.

So it turns out that quinoa is really easy to cook and flavor. Treat it like rice, but it cooks twice as fast and is inherently more flavorful and texturized. I know some days it’s good to just have white rice, but other days it’s nice to change it up. We basically cooked a dinner in 15 minutes from raw ingredients yesterday, and it was marvelous. I think what gets to me is that anything I can think of can easily mix into the quinoa and make a complete meal.

Jalapeno Chicken Quinoa


2 cups raw quinoa
1 medium onion
1/2 tomato
1 jalapeno
1 chicken breast
2 cloves garlic
chopped or dried parsley
chopped or dried basil
olive oil

Put two cups quinoa into a pot with roughly double the amount of water. Heat on high until the water boils, then turn the flame down to simmer until all the water is absorbed.

Peel and halve the onion, and cut into slices across the grain. Heat up olive oil in a large wok and saute the onion lightly. Cut chicken breast into strips, and add it to the onion. Dice up the garlic and cut the jalapeno into slices, and add it to the mix. Saute everything until the chicken breast is thoroughly cooked, seasoning with salt and pepper. Add the diced tomatoes and let it mix in the wok.

Add the quinoa to the wok. Add in generous amounts of parsley and basil and season with some salt and pepper. Continue to mix on medium heat for a minute, then serve.

Time to procrastinate:15 minutes
Ways to prolong procrastination: Cook the recipe below

Salmon and tofu Quinoa

2 cups raw quinoa
1/2 package of tofu
1/2 cup mushrooms
1 medium onion
1/2 tomato
1 jalapeno
2 chunks of salmon with skin on
2 cloves garlic
olive oil

Basically, the recipe is the same, except I cooked the salmon in a George Foreman grill beforehand because it was frozen. But frozen salmon still cooks very thoroughly and tenderly in the george foreman.

Start the quinoa as above. Saute the onions, jalapeno, and garlic all together in olive oil until they start to caramelize. Cut mushroom into slices and tofu into cubes. Add in the mushrooms and tofu, and season with salt and pepper. Add in diced tomatoes last, and lightly saute everything before adding in the cooked quinoa. Generously add parsley and basil.

Take the salmon off of the grill. If you like salmon skin, keep the skin on, otherwise just use a fork to remove the fish from the skin. Put the salmon into the wok and slightly break up the chunks of fish as you mix everything together. Keep on heat for another minute and season with salt and pepper. Alternatively, serve the salmon whole on top of a bed of the tofu quinoa. Top with a bit of sea salt and ground pepper.

Time to procrastinate:15 minutes
Ways to prolong procrastination:Discuss the health and environmental impact of eating quinoa. But seriously don’t be a hippie. Just eat quinoa because it tastes good.

One Response to “Keen on Quinoa”

  1. Christine May 7, 2010 at 10:04 pm #

    Hi! I love quinoa! THanks for this very informative post. and also for the recipes.
    If you wont mind I’d love to guide Foodista readers to this post.Just add the foodista widget to the end of this post and it’s all set, Thanks!

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