Quinoa sparkles and shines all year long, but I love it most in the summer when I cook up a huge batch and mix in tons of fresh veggies for barbecues, or I use it throughout the week in my lunch salads. Quinoa can take the place of almost any grain or starch, cooked risotto style, featured in a pilaf or even tossed in with curries.
Although it’s often associated with grains, quinoa is really an ancient seed, first used about 5,000 years ago by the Incas in South America. There are thousands of varieties of quinoa, but most often you’ll find white, red and black. Keeping in mind that the darker varieties are more firm and don’t absorb water as well as the white, they can all be used interchangeably. Most quinoa is pre-rinsed, but check the package. Its natural coating, saponin, leaves a bitter taste when not rinsed off.
This week marks the unofficial start to summer, and with that comes endless uses for quinoa.
- Holiday weekends mean more time for breakfast; try Quinoa Hash Browns and Turkish Eggs (pictured above).
- Bobby Deen’s veggie-heavy Quinoa, Salmon and Broccoli Bowl is the perfect meal for bikini season.
- Tabbouleh is a traditional Middle Eastern salad, heavy on healthy herbs like mint and cilantro. Mix in our favorite superfood for Quinoa Tabbouleh.
- Serve Kelsey Nixon’s Pomegranate Quinoa Pilaf (less than 250 calories per serving) hot or cold all year long.
- Ingrid Hoffmann’s Yellow Quinoa is seasoned with adobo seasoning, a traditional Mexican spice blend of garlic, paprika, oregano and salt.