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It’s Pronounced KEEN-Wah

Quinoa is a small grain that looks similar to couscous but has an earthier, nuttier flavor. While couscous is usually just a vehicle for whatever dressing or seasonings you put on it, quinoa can stand on its own. It has been cultivated in the Andes for centuries and has been called “the ancient food of the Incas.” Funny, because until a couple of years ago, I had never heard of it. And I call myself a foodie!

I’m not quite sure why, but it seems like rice is often the star grain, couscous lands a role in the supporting cast, and quinoa is merely an extra who gets 10 seconds of screen time, at best. This needs to change. The grain should be used and talked about more because it does lend more depth than other grains do to recipes. But it’s not just the great flavor that Chris and I love—quinoa is also a great source of nutrients such as protein, iron, fiber, and more.

Below is just one recipe that you can try to sample a little quinoa. Search for “quinoa” in our recipe database and you’ll find several more.

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Black-Bean Quinoa Salad

For the Dressing:

2 Tbsp. fresh lime juice
2 Tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. ground black pepper

  • Whisk all the dressing ingredients together and set aside.

For the Quinoa:

1 1/4 cups dry quinoa
1 bay leaf
2 cups water or vegetable stock
1 12-oz. can black beans, drained
1/2 cup chopped red onion
1 large tomato, diced
1/4 cup fresh chopped cilantro
Salt and pepper, to taste

  • Place the quinoa in a sieve and rinse under cold running water. Drain and set aside.
  • Add the rinsed quinoa, the bay leaf, and the water or stock to a saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for approximately 20, or until the quinoa is tender and fluffy. Remove from the heat, then remove the bay leaf.
  • Add the black beans, red onion, tomato, cilantro, and dressing, then stir gently. Add additional salt and pepper, if necessary.

Makes 4 cups

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  • Clea says:

    Every morning I add a 1/4 cup of quinoa and 1/4 oats together with a big handful of raisins for my morning oatmeal breakfast. It’s a fast way to boost my protein intake for the day and it tastes great.

  • Michael says:

    The easiest way for me to make Quinoa is just to put it in the rice cooker. It cooks it a lot faster than rice. I use 1 part quinoa and 2 parts water then just leave it on auto.

  • Hope says:

    I love quinoa but have had awful luck trying to make it myself… it seems to always end up mushy! Any suggestions on how to counter the mushiness?

  • Gwen says:

    I’d love to like quinoa. I really would. It sounds great on paper. But it’s way harder to cook than other grains. The hob on my cooker is incapable of staying at a heat that will keep it boiling without burning it. And everytime I eat it, even if it’s just a little bit I feel really over full. Which is a great pity because I like the taste and texture of it. It looks like an interesting recipe though. Maybe I should give it one last try.

  • Jane says:

    Hi Amy,

    LOVE LOVE LOVE quinoa. I just did a post on it yesterday. One of our readers, Kat, commented that she’d had tacos with quinoa, black beans, corn and guacamole.
    Thanks for the recipes. I’ll be giving this one a try real soon.

    Jane of VeganBits.com

  • Allie says:

    Finally, someone who shares my obsession with quinoa!!! I absolutely love this stuff!

    http://aveganlife.blogspot.com

  • Michelle says:

    As a vegan who is allergic to both rice and wheat, I have depended on quinoa for years. Glad to see it’s finally getting some recognition.

  • jess says:

    i absolutely love quinoa. it’s my favorite grain, and the grain with the highest amt of protein. amazing!

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