Monday, March 21, 2011

The Virtues of Quinoa

If you thought quinoa was just for hippy vegans, think again!

I tried quinoa for the first time last year at a Peruvian restaurant and it has become my carb du jour. It has a nice earthy taste and the texture has that satisfying "pop" similar to tobiko. For a whole grain, it's fast and easy to cook. (Same ratio as white rice—1 cup quinoa to 1.5 cup water; same method) I serve it in place of white basmati rice whenever I make Indian or Middle Eastern food. Unlike rice, quinoa actually tastes good chilled, which makes it perfect for cold or room temperature side dishes too. Did I mention it has a lot of protein and dietary fiber as well? According to the nutrition information, I'm getting 6 gram protein and 3 grams dietary fiber per serving. *Awesome*

Pictured above is an herb and quinoa salad tossed in a lemon dressing. Here's what you do: add finely chopped herbs (I used mint and Italian parsley but cilantro works too.), freshly toasted almond slivers, small-diced sweet onions (or green onions) and tomatoes, if you have them. The dressing is just a vinaigrette made with Meyer lemon instead of vinegar. Don't forget the salt. It's that easy, and lots of room to play around with flavors.

So tell me, how do you enjoy quinoa?

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