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.
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