Monday, February 21, 2011

Favorite Food: Quinoa

Quinoa is one of my all time favorite foods. When J and I became vegan, two of the first new foods we were exposed to were kale and quinoa, which together eventually became one of our go-to favorite dishes. Cook up some quinoa, then top with steamed kale and drizzle with soy sauce, sesame oil and sriracha hot sauce. To this day, this is one of the simplest, most inexpensive, delicious and nutritionally satisfying dishes we enjoy. And we enjoy it OFTEN. I've had the priveledge of introducing a lot of my friends and family to quinoa, but for some reason, the perfect cooking method is sometimes tricky to pin down. A long time lover of rice, polenta, risotto and other grains which take a long time and a bit of love to cook properly, I was thrilled when I discovered that cooking quinoa is about a simple as anything could possibly be. SO, if you want to spice up your dinners with this amazing and delicious grain which has much more fiber and protein than rice as well as a little very healthy fat and 10% of your daily iron, follow these simple steps:

Put 1 cup dry quinoa in a cold saucepan. Add 2 cups low sodium vegetable broth (or 2 cups water and abot 1 Tbsp. better than bullion paste). Cover the pan, bring to a boil and then reduce to medium low. Cook for about 25-30 minutes without disturbing the pan, then check on it by running a fork through the quinoa. It should be light and fluffy and not wet anymore. If not, cook a little longer. Some of the most common mistakes with quinoa include using too much water (a simply 1:2 ratio is best, unlike rice and some other grains) or stirring while cooking. Once you've made it a few times, you will feel more comfortable with the no-stirring thing. Trust me, this will make the lightest, fluffiest quinoa you've ever had. Enjoy!

1/4 cup dry (which cooks up to 1 cup cooked) - 170 calories; 3 g fat (0 g sat); 0 mg cholesterol; 5 mg sodium; 30 g carb; 3 g fiber; 1 g sugar; 5 g protein; 10% iron.

1/4 cup dry (which cooks up to 1 cup cooked) - 150 calories; 0.5 g fat (0sat); 0 mg cholesterol; 0 mg sodium; 33 g carb; 0.5 g fiber; 0 g sugar; 3 g protein; 2% iron.