Quinoa is one of those foods I spent a long time avoiding because I thought I’d hate it, but I really wanted to like it because it’s ridiculously healthy. I also spent a long time pronouncing it kwin-oh-ah.
So how healthy is ridiculously healthy? Well, it’s packed with iron, potassium, fiber and of course protein, which is probably its main claim to fame. Not that all the other stuff isn’t awesome, but the protein in quinoa gets a lot of press because it contains all nine essential amino acids, which is rare in plant-based foods. Personally, I’m most stoked about the fiber – it has twice as much as most other grains – and this little gem:
Now that I’ve worked through my quinoa (keen-wa) issues, I enjoy it. I’m usually not into the tiny grain texture (I’m gonna pass on the couscous for sure), so for me, the key to enjoying quinoa is mixing it up with lots of big texture stuff like veggies and beans. So if you’re not sure about this whole quinoa trip, stick with me here. We can work through this together.
When I want to like something, my best bet is to cook it with a bunch of stuff I know I already love. I’d been cruising quinoa recipes for months, looking for something I was brave enough to try…nah. Nothing suited me exactly. So when I finally got up the stones to quit fooling around and try quinoa right now dammit, I had to cook it in a ton of garlic and mix it up with garbanzos and a truckload of my favorite veggies. So if you can’t seem to find a quinoa recipe that’s calling your name, despite your best efforts and countless hours on Pinterest and Foodgawker, forget the recipes. Cook quinoa (it’s easy) and mix it with stuff you like.
That being said, here’s a recipe for quinoa. Maybe this is the one that gives you the quinoa spark. If it doesn’t, I hope it inspires you to go to the store, buy that quinoa, and cook it up with some comforting veggies and seasonings you know and love. To give my quinoa a flavor boost, I like to toast it with garlic powder, onion powder and red pepper flakes. For veggies I’ve been using spinach, peppers and crimini mushrooms, which I do totally love but use in combination way too often. I promise to put the trio on hiatus for a while after this recipe.
Thanks to The Kitchn for teaching me how to cook quinoa. It comes out great every time!
10 minPrep Time
40 minCook Time
50 minTotal Time
- 1 c quinoa
- 1 tsp olive oil
- 1 tsp garlic powder
- 1 tsp onion powder
- 1 tsp red pepper flakes
- 2 c water
- 1/4 tsp salt
- 1 Tbs lemon juice
- 1 Tbs olive oil
- 6 cloves garlic, minced
- 1 1/2 c bell pepper, chopped
- 1 red onion, chopped
- 6 c fresh spinach
- 1 c cremini mushrooms, sliced
- 3 roma tomatoes, chopped
- 1-2 Tbs dried oregano
- 1 1/2 c cooked chickpeas (or use a 15 oz. can, thoroughly rinsed and drained)
- To cook the quinoa: Put the quinoa into a mesh strainer and rinse under running water for about 2 minutes. Swirl it around with your fingers to make sure it gets really clean. Heat 1 tsp of olive oil on medium-high heat in a lidded saucepan. Add the garlic powder, onion powder, red pepper flakes and drained quinoa. Toast the quinoa in the oil and seasonings for about a minute. Add the water, salt and lemon juice, turn up the heat and bring it to a full rolling boil. Turn the heat to the lowest setting, put the lid on and let it cook for about 15 minutes. Take it off the heat and let it stand covered for 5 minutes, then give it a fluff. The quinoa is ready!
- Combine the tablespoon of olive oil and the garlic in a nonstick pan. Turn the heat to medium and saute for about a minute. Add the rest of the veggies in order, sauteing for about 2 minutes after each addition. Stir in the oregano and chickpeas. Stir in the quinoa.
This recipe is naturally vegan and gluten-free; check the labels on your ingredients to make sure they work for you.
Per serving, about 265g: 256 calories (52 calories from fat); 5.8g fat (9%)(0.8g sat, 0.0g trans); 0mg cholesterol (0%); 130mg sodium (5%); 42.3g carbohydrates (14%); 7.8g fiber (31%); 9.7g protein; Vitamin A 66%; Calcium 9%; Vitamin C 101%; Iron 25%, Potassium 20%