special weekend post: quinoa

I have a thing for quinoa.

It all started back when I decided to go vegetarian for a few months.  I dipped and paddled my way through an assortment of new meals.  New flavors.  New ideas.  Some were interesting, most were delicious, and a few were disgusting (*cough, cough*veggie hotdogs*cough, cough*.)  In the end, I realized that eating a vegetarian diet was at its best and brightest when it was kept simple.  Yes, convenience is completely necessary in my life sometimes.  But for the real deal—to really see the vegetarian diet shine—you have to go back to basics.

Real food.  Real flavor.  Simple.

And that is when I first tried quinoa.  That little grain that kind of resembles a flotation device.  Not only does it boast a very high protein content, it’s also completely gluten free and super quick to cook: 15 minutes from boiling point to bowl.  What’s not to love?  I worked it into many of my meals.  It became the substitute for rice.  It became my breakfast of choice, paired with fresh maple syrup and fruit.  It worked marvelously with flavors ranging from soy sauce to tomato sauce to pesto.

Although I’m no longer a strict vegetarian, some of my favorite foods were discovered during the time that I was.  Quinoa was one of many, and tonight I threw together one of my favorite quinoa meals.  This dish has the potential to cook down and become more of a pilaf, but tonight I took it off the burner early enough to call it more of a chili.  It’s delicious served either way. 😀

Chickpea Quinoa Pilaf (or chili)—taken and tweaked from Veganomicon

  • 1 T. olive oil
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1/2 tsp ground cumin
  • 1 T. ground coriander
  • fresh black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 T. tomato paste + 1-15 oz. can diced tomatoes, drained well
  • 1 c. quinoa
  • 1-15 oz. can of chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 2 c. vegetable broth
  1. In a small saucepan, over medium heat, saute onions and garlic in olive oil for about 7 minutes.
  2. Add cumin through tomatoes, saute for another minute.
  3. Add quinoa and saute for 2 minutes
  4. Add chickpeas and broth; cover and bring to a boil.  Reduce heat to low and continue cooking for 18-20 minutes or until quinoa is tender and most of the liquid is evaporated.

Question: What is your favorite grain?


19 thoughts on “special weekend post: quinoa

  1. Total quinoa fan here, too – and ironically enough, this is definitely one of my favorite ways to make it, and hands-down my mom’s 😉 I’ve always cooked it until everythings soaked up, though – great idea of leaving it more of a chili!
    I love quinoa (though not technically a grain) and bulgur 🙂 I alsorecently discovered millet. Very good, too!

  2. I haven’t made quinoa in a while. I seem to go through phases when I experiment with different grains. Millet works quite well in chili too

    My favorite grains are Jasmine rice and barley. In the winter I love adding barley to soups, and making extra as a breakfast grain.

  3. I don’t think I’ve discovered my favorite grain yet. I grew up on white rice because that’s all my mom would make. Now that I can make my own meals, I’m experimenting with different grains and foods.

    But, if I had to choose based on what i’ve tried so far, multi-grain oats would be at the top of the list!!

  4. I will never be able to see the word ‘quinoa’ without hearing Memere’s description of it… 🙂 Ha, ha. It makes me laugh. I’ve never tried it, but will have to!!

  5. This looks awesome. Quinoa is probably one of my favorite grains. It’s texture is divine under stir fries and curries. And I just found out recently that it was a complete protein, not lacking any of the amino acids that other grains are. 😉

  6. I love quinoa!! I feel good about eating it because it has so much protein and I don’t eat much. I love brown rice (does that count as a grain?).

  7. Quinoa’s the perfect grain. It’s got fiber, protein, whole grains, and taste! I love the stuff 🙂 But as far as my favorite grain? I’d have to go with oatmeal..just because it gets me going in the morning.

  8. Wow that just made me droool! Your recipes are always so healthy and delicious! I’m planning on making your black bean soup soon when I saw the recipe I fell in love! Going to the store to buy more chickpeas tomorrow to make this as well! Great idea and I can’t wait to try it!

  9. I love teff! Love it love it. It’s tiny size, brown opaque color, creamy texture. And millet because of its buttery flavor. And quinoa because of its cute little spiral tails

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