I’m not one to branch out and try new things. I like to stay in my comfort zone and not waste money on new things that I may not like. But, I haven’t been able to ignore this thing called Quinoa. It’s plastered all over Pinterest and Facebook, and the pictures look scrumptious! I thought, “hmm…I may as well give it a shot.”

First, I did my research, because I knew absolutely nothing about it. Here’s what I found out:

  1. It’s pronounced keen-wha.
  2. All of the experts say quinoa is packed with protein and full of nutrients like amino acids, iron, magnesium, vitamin E, potassium, and fiber.
  3. Quinoa comes in different colors. The most common is white, but there‘s also red and black.
  4. Tired of rice? Substitute rice for quinoa.
  5. Quinoa must be soaked before cooking because of a natural coating that tastes bitter. Packaged quinoa from the grocery store probably doesn’t need to be soaked, but check the packaging first.

How to Cook and Serve Quinoa
Cooking quinoa is quick, easy, and similar to cooking rice. If your quinoa has not been pre-soaked, then soak 1 cup quinoa in 2 cups water for 5-10 minutes. Drain, rinse and pour the quinoa into a pot. Add 1 1/2 cups of water and a half teaspoon of salt. Bring it to a boil, cover, and simmer for 15 minutes.  Remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, covered. Fluff with a fork and serve.

Quinoa can be eaten on its own as a side dish, with a bit of butter or oil, salt, and pepper, or other seasonings. You can also make a breakfast dish by mixing your cooked quinoa with dried fruit, cinnamon, milk, and maple syrup or honey. I’ve read that you can serve quinoa with chili, stir-fries, beans, or curries. Quinoa is a good source of protein for vegetarians, and can be used as a main course in meat-free burgers, stews, or salads.  Some people even bake with it! You can easily find a quinoa recipe on Pinterest or by doing a search on the Internet.

My Quinoa Experiment
Before I tried quinoa, I asked my health-nut friends about it. I wanted to know about the taste and texture. They told me it tastes nutty and reminds them of grits. They said the magic word – grits!

Rather than searching Pinterest for an elaborate recipe, I decided to take the simple route and purchase a box of quinoa and use the recipe on the box. You usually can’t go wrong with box recipes, right?

It didn’t take long to cook, and it smelled quite tasty. I couldn’t believe I was looking forward to trying it! This Southern girl likes her rice, but lima beans over quinoa wasn’t bad at all. My friends were right about the texture – it’s very close to grits. I’ll definitely cook quinoa again, and I encourage you to give it a shot, too.

  • Keen-what?
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