Quinoa: Hey That

stuff is pretty good.

I'm always suspicious of something touted as a health food, but this actually tastes good, cooks in a standard rice cooker, and has some impressive nutritional numbers. Other than learning to say the name right, it's a no-brainer.

It has a more interesting flavor than rice, and is really good the next day for breakfast with butter, milk, brown sugar, raisins, and a tablespoon of maple syrup. Sits well on my stomach (especially after that Indian food last night).

More expensive than rice, Costco has it for 4 lbs for $7. This is Bolivian grown at 12,000 ft, imported in bulk to California, cleaned and packaged there.

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I'm somewhat suspicious of the printed protein profiles

What's on the bag is closer to the protein contents of wheat or lentils. I suspect that it could be grown here or that some other amaranth or teff could work here if the temps are too high for quinoa.

I buy brown rice at La Colonia in Matagalpa (and they also have black olives which I remember you looking for) and lentils. They take the same cooking time and end up as my own staple equivalent of gallo pinto. Add some 100% chocolate (available at Matagalpa Tours) and red peppers (flakes or jalepeños or the little red chiles) and it's a tasty stew. Lentils could be grown here and the brown rice I buy is.

The local milo (millon) has an interesting protein profile, too, in the wheat range, and probably can be made into something other than popped millon balls. The typical thing to make out of untested grains is either grain porridge or coarse meal pancakes. I've got a Victoria mill, just haven't really tried to work with the milo in it, yet.

Rebecca Brown

Some Interesting Quinoa


Link to pics of the prepared dishes:



Quinoa Broccoli Pilaf Per serving (1 cup): 150 calories, 3g fat, 74.3mg sodium, 6.5g fiber, 6.8g protein Perfect as a side dish or a full vegetarian meal, this filling pilaf can be served up hot or cold. Ingredients: 1 tbsp extra virgin olive oil 1 medium onion, finely diced 1 medium head of broccoli (approximately 1lb), cut into florets and washed 1 cup quinoa, dry 2 ¼ cup low sodium vegetable broth 1 tsp sea salt 1 tsp black pepper 1 tsp paprika Directions: Using a food processor, shred broccoli florets and stems (or finely dice with a knife). Using a medium sized saucepan, sauté onion in olive oil on medium heat for 3-4 minutes. Add shredded broccoli to pot and continue to sauté for another 3 minutes. Add dry quinoa, veggie broth, salt, pepper and paprika. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce to medium heat and simmer for 10 minutes, until the liquid is totally absorbed. Makes 6 servings


Quinoa and Veggie Soup Per serving (about 1 bowl): 182 calories, 13g fat (4g saturated), 4g fiber, 4g protein Need to use those veggies in the crisper before they go bad? Toss whatever you have on hand into this hearty and healthy soup for a filling meal or appetizer. Ingredients: 2-3 tbsp olive oil 1 red onion, finely chopped 1 jalapeno, finely chopped 2 scallions, thinly sliced 1 ½ cups finely chopped mixed vegetables (carrot, celery, zucchini, etc.) 4 to 6 garlic cloves, minced 4 cups cooked quinoa 2 quarts vegetable or chicken stock 1 cup cubed Monterey jack cheese (optional) ½ cup heavy cream handful of fresh cilantro, roughly chopped salt and freshly ground black pepper (to taste) Directions: Heat a medium-sized pot over medium heat. Add olive oil and throw in the red onion and jalapeno, as well as a bit of salt to draw out the moisture. Cook for a few minutes until the red onions start to turn translucent. Add in the scallions and mixed vegetables and cook for 2-3 more minutes. Add the garlic and sauté another 30 seconds and then throw in the quinoa and stock. Bring the mixture up to a boil and then lower to a simmer. Add in the cheese, if using, and the heavy cream and simmer for another 2 minutes so the flavors come together. Add the cilantro and season to taste. Makes about 4-6 servings


Quinoa Mac n' Cheese Tomato Bowl Per serving (1 bowl): 155 calories, 9g fat (1.6g saturated), 14.8g carbohydrates, 2.1g fiber, 82mg sodium, 5.3g protein Give your mac n’ cheese a makeover with this nutrient-packed, flavorful recipe that uses quinoa instead of pasta for a lighter, more nutritious dish. Ingredients: 1/4 cup quinoa 1 tablespoon grapeseed oil 2 tablespoons pignoli nuts 2 cloves garlic, minced 1 cup fresh spinach leaves 1/2 juice of fresh lemon 1/4 cup grated cheese of your choice (Kelly recommends a blend of Parmesan and Asiago) 4 organic beef steak tomatoes, top 1 inch sliced off, pulp and seeds scooped out Directions: Bring a pot of lightly salted water to a boil over high heat. Add the quinoa, and cook until the quinoa is tender, 15 to 20 minutes. Drain in a mesh strainer, and rinse until cold; set aside. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, stir in pignoli nuts, and cook until lightly toasted, about 2 minutes. Stir in the garlic, and cook until the garlic softens, about 2 minutes. Stir in the quinoa and spinach; cook and stir until the quinoa is hot, and the spinach has wilted. Stir in the lemon juice, and the cheese. Meanwhile place tomatoes in a baking dish and place sliced top back on top of the tomato. Place in broiler for 5 minutes until softens slightly, but still remains intact. Take tomatoes out and place the quinoa mixture inside the tomato, like a bowl, and serve. Makes 4 servings


Island-Style Quinoa Parfait Per serving (1 cup): 151 calories, 1.3g fat, 24g carbohydrates, 8.6g protein Ditch the sugar-laden granola in your yogurt and try this tropical fruit parfait instead. Perfect for breakfast or as a snack, this parfait makes an excellent energy-boosting bite any time of day, says recipe creator Elisha Joyce (aka “The Quinoa Queen”). Ingredients: 1/3 cup cooked quinoa (cooked in plain water, no salt) 1/3 cup Greek yogurt 1/3 cup fruit of your choice (Joyce prefers mango and banana together) Directions: Combine ingredients in a bowl, and serve! For some added flavor, Joyce recommends adding a drizzle of coconut milk, a sprinkling of unsweetened coconut, and/or a few crushed walnuts. Makes 1 serving


Quinoa-Crusted Shrimp Per serving (approx. 10 shrimp, varies depending on size): 202 calories, 4g fat (1g saturated), 1g fiber, 28g protein Impress your guests with this amazing appetizer that’s low in fat and high in flavor. Use colored quinoa (red, white, black, or a combo) to add a bright, festive finger food to any party. Ingredients: ½ cup flour 1 tsp salt ¼ tsp freshly ground black pepper

½ tsp ground cumin

½ tsp paprika

¾ tsp garlic powder

½ tsp onion powder 2 eggs, beaten 1 cup raw quinoa 1 lb medium shrimp, peeled and de-veined

olive or vegetable oil, for frying Directions: Set up 3 bowls and a baking sheet with a rack on top. In the first bowl, thoroughly mix together the flour with the salt and all of the ground spices. The second bowl will have the beaten eggs, and the third bowl, the quinoa. For each shrimp, holding by the tail dip them in the flour mixture, eggs, and then quinoa - shaking off excess at each stage. Place on the rack on the baking sheet and set in the fridge while heating the oil. In a heavy-bottomed pot, heat 2 to 3 inches of oil over medium high heat. Fry shrimp for 3 minutes and transfer to another rack on a baking sheet. Immediately season with a bit of salt while they are hot out of the oil. Serve warm. Makes about 4 servings


Vegan Chocolate Protein Bars Per serving (1 bar): 184 calories, 5.4g fat (3g saturated), 29g carbohydrates, 37mg sodium, 113mg potassium, 3g fiber, 7.3g protein Skip the store-bought, processed protein bars and make your own with quinoa for a yummy, potassium- and protein-packed snack. One bar delivers all the energy you need to fuel your busy afternoon and your workouts. Ingredients: ¾ cup dry quinoa (or about 2 cups cooked) ½ cup dates, pitted 3 tbsp agave nectar 2 tbsp vegetable oil 2 tbsp ground flaxseed ½ tsp almond extract ¼ tsp salt ½ cup protein powder (use your favorite brand, Frazier likes an unsweetened hemp version) ½ cup whole-wheat flour ¼ cup shredded coconut ¼ cup vegan chocolate chips Directions: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray an 8×8 baking dish lightly with baking spray. Rinse the dry quinoa in cold water, then let sit in a bowl of water for 10 minutes. In the meantime, bring 1 cup of water to boil. Drain the quinoa and add to the boiling water. Cover, and reduce heat to simmer for about 12 minutes. Let cool enough to handle. In the bowl of a food processor, combine the cooked quinoa, dates, agave nectar, vegetable oil, flaxseed, almond extract, and salt. Process until relatively smooth (the quinoa is so small it stays slightly lumpy). In a small bowl, stir together the protein powder, flour, and stir-ins. Fold this dry mixture into wet mixture with a spatula. The dough is very thick, like cookie dough, so use the spatula to press into prepared pan evenly. Bake for about 22-25 minutes, until firm. Let cool, then slice into a dozen bars. Store in an airtight container for up to a week, or freeze for up to 3 months. Makes 12 servings


Low-Carb Cabbage Rolls Per serving (2 rolls): 247 calories, 11g fat (3g saturated), 22g carbohydrates, 5g fiber, 140mg sodium, 22g protein Not only are these rolls delicious, they're packed with super-nutrients such as glutamine (important for muscle health and digestion), immunity-boosting vitamin C, and vitamin A (for healthier looking skin), says weight-loss coach Charles D’Angelo, author of Think and Grow Thin, who created this recipe. Ingredients: For the rolls: 12 cabbage leaves 1 lb ground chicken ¾ cup cooked quinoa 1 cup finely chopped red onion 1 egg ½ cup skim or 1% milk 1 tsp black pepper 2 tbsp cornstarch For the sauce: 2 cups diced tomatoes 1 cup good-quality low-sodium tomato sauce 1 tbsp basil 2 tbsp vinegar ½ cup chicken broth Directions: Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Boil at least 8 cups of water in a large pot. Boil or steam cabbage leaves for 3 minutes. In a large bowl, combine chicken, quinoa, onion, egg, milk and pepper. Mix well and divide into 12 equal portions. Place each portion in a cabbage leaf. Roll up and secure with a toothpick. Place cabbage rolls side by side in a baking dish at least two inches deep, and pour sauce over the top. Cover and bake for 40 minutes. When cooked, remove cabbage rolls from baking dish. Transfer juices to saucepan. Mix cornstarch with ¼ cup cold water and stir into juices. Bring to boil, then reduce heat. Simmer until sauce thickens. Pour over cabbage rolls when serving. Makes 6 servings



Wendy Polisi has lots of quinoa information on CookingQuiona.net. She also has a couple of great cookbooks if you want to get serious about using quinoa.

For those afraid of the health food label, that is a US thing. It is an ancient superfood that has made it possible for ordinary folk to survive in places such as the altaplano of Bolivia. While it can be cooked pretty much like rice, it is far more in the way of something you can thrive on. There is concern that the increased demand, particularly in the US, is going to force the local price of quinoa up such that those who grow it won't be able to afford to eat it.

Quiona is available here in

Quiona is available here in New England, but it's very expensive... It would be cheaper to eat gallo pinto for a complete Amino Acid profile. Quiona is percieved here an exotic health food, but it's not really worth paying such a premium for it. If it means indigenous folks will be able to afford it then I won't buy it anymore.

great info..

if i live in the states..but where do we find it here..dose cosco internet sales..have free shipping..

I'm working on that

I have some because a friend put a bucket of it in a container he shipped down but, beyond that, I have yet to find it here. I talked to folks in Bolivia who claim to be the biggest organic quinoa distributor and they claimed all they produce is exported to the US.

When I was in Panajachel Guatemala I found it in a little store along with brown rice, lentils, flouride-free toothpaste and other interesting products. So, at least it exists in Central America. I continue to try to find either a local source or some business willing to import it.