Wednesday, 23 January 2013

About quinoa and a recipe for black bean salad

I just got home from a wonderful gab session about making wise food choices.  It was great!  Some people learned a new word today and I feel inspired to chat a bit about it.

Today's word is "quinoa" and is pronounced keen-wah and is brought to you by the letter Q.  Who doesn't love the letter Q?!  It's so regal, even when writing it.  Go get a pen and paper and jot down a few Q's just to better appreciate where I'm coming from with this.

Here I will pull a few quote from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites (1996): "Quinoa is no twentieth-century hybrid; its recorded history of cultivation and use date back to the Incan empire.  Indigenous to South America, this wheat-free grain has been rediscovered in the last five years and is suddenly widely available.  Quinoa contains all eight of the amino acids the body cannot produce, is rich in vitamins and minerals, cooks in about 15 minutes, is easily digestible, expands almost five times in cooking and can be eaten plain or used to thicken soups and stews.  It has a mild, nutty aroma and slight crunch.  Pastas made of quinoa flour are also available.  Quinoa and quinoa products can be found in natural food stores and in many supermarkets."

Here is a good picture I found online of uncooked (raw) quinoa.

Raw, uncooked quinoa

 Here is a good picture I found online of cooked quinoa (ignore the bits of green - that is not quinoa).

Cooked quinoa with green bits added for effect

I have served quinoa alongside of chickpea curry, added it to soups and stews (like fast red lentil soup) and in salads (particularly salads in jars).  You can make a hot cereal with quinoa for breakfast or bake quinoa into muffins.

Here is a recipe for a quinoa black bean salad also from the Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites.  They have another little blurb on the properties of quinoa: "Higher in protein than any other grain, quinoa is chewy with a delicious, almost nutlike flavor.  Bolstered with the nutritional power of black beans, this salad is hearty, healthy eating at its best." 

WHAMO!  Eat this, be healthy.  OKAY!

Quinoa Black Bean Salad
from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites
serves 4 as a side dish
1/3 cup quinoa
1 cup water
1 tsp olive oil
4 tsp fresh lime juice, or more to taste
1/4 tsp gr cumin
1/4 tsp gr coriander (I leave it out)
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh cilantro (I'd use fresh mint)
2 Tbsp minced scallions (or green onion)
1 15 oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
2 cups diced tomatoes (28 oz can diced tomatoes in a pinch)
1 cup diced sweet peppers (any colour)
1/2 cup corn kernels (fresh off the cob, canned, or previously frozen and now thawed)
2 tsp minced fresh green chiles (I leave out)
salt and pepper to taste
- rinse quinoa well in a sieve under cool running water.  In a saucepan, bring the water to a boil, add the quinoa, cover, and simmer on low heat, until all of the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 10-15 minutes.  Allow to cool for 15 minutes.
- in a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients, add the cooled quinoa and S&P to taste and combine thoroughly.  Refrigerate until ready to serve.  Garnish with lemon or lime wedges.

This dish would also be great with some cubed, cooked sweet potato thrown in there; for the colour, texture and more vitamins!  Cook the sweet potato along with the quinoa for no loss of nutrients.

It would be good as a side dish to a corn chowder for a supper serving or all on it's own for lunch.

What did you learn today?


  1. That sounds so good! Quinoa is definitely a super food. I made a recipe with sweet potatoes and quinoa this week and the hubs and I were super excited to DOUBLE the super foods. :)

    1. WOW, welcome to my blog! Thanks for dropping by.