Friday recipes: keen on quinoa

When it comes to great quinoa recipes, Joy Schiller, M.A., CHES, DMU’s wellness director, has you covered – breakfast, lunch and dessert.

Quinoa is available in several varieties, all good.
Quinoa is available in several varieties, all good.

First, a bit of background on this tasty, nutrition-packed food, pronounced “KEEN-wah”: It’s the edible seeds of a species of goosefoot, a “chenopod” that is closely related to beets, spinach, Swiss chard and tumbleweeds. Who knew? A good source of protein, iron and fiber, quinoa is gluten-free, antioxidant and anti-inflammatory. Given its high nutritive value, impressive biodiversity and ability to increase food security around the world, the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations has officially declared 2013 as the “International Year of the Quinoa.”

Joy offers three delicious dishes below to celebrate this noble food. Enjoy!

Spiced breakfast quinoa
Makes 2 servings, scant 1 cup each

To make ahead: Cover and refrigerate for up to 1 day; serve cold or reheat over low heat or in the microwave; thin with water or milk as desired.

  • ½ cup quinoa
  • 1 cup low-fat milk
  • 1 cup water
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
  • 1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
  • Pinch of salt
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg white
  • 2 tablespoons currant or raisins

Place quinoa in a fine-mesh sieve or disposable coffee filter and rinse well with cold water. Heat a medium saucepan over medium-high heat. Add quinoa and cook, stirring, until the grains are separated and smell fragrant, 2 to 4 minutes. Sit in milk, water, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger and salt. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat to maintain a simmer and cook uncovered, stirring occasionally, until the quinoa is tender, 20 to 25 minutes.  Remove from heat. Sit in honey and vanilla.

Whisk egg white in a small bowl with 1 tablespoon of the hot cereal. Repeat with 5 more tablespoons until the egg white is completely incorporated. Stir in currants or raisins. Return the cereal to the saucepan and cook, stirring, over medium-low heat until thickened slightly, 1 to 2 minutes.

Snap pea and quinoa salad
Makes 6 servings, about 1 cup each

To make ahead: prepare quinoa (step 1) and refrigerate for up to 3 days. Cover and refrigerate the prepared salad for up to 1 day.

  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2 cups fresh snap peas, trimmed and cut diagonally into thirds
  • 1½ cups button mushrooms, cut into quarters or eighths if large
  • 1/3 cup thinly sliced red onion, cut into 1-inch lengths
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1/3 cups white balsamic vinegar or white-wine vinegar
  • ¼ cup extra-virgin olive oil or flaxseed oil
  • 1 teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • 1 teaspoon pure maple syrup

Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside to cool completely.

Combine pears, mushrooms, onion and dill in a medium bowl. Whisk vinegar, oil, lemon zest, lemon juice and maple syrup in a small bowl. Stir the dressing into the cooled quinoa until evenly dispersed. Add the quinoa to the vegetables mixture, toss and serve.

Strawberry-rhubarb quinoa pudding
Makes 6 servings, 2/3 cup each

To make ahead: Prepare pudding (steps 1-2), cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. Make the topping just before serving.

  • 2¼ cups water, divided
  • 1½ cups chopped rhubarb, fresh or frozen
  • 1 cup shopped strawberries, fresh or frozen, plus more for garnish
  • 1/3 cup quinoa
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  • ½ cup sugar plus 1 tablespoon, divided
  • ½ teaspoon freshly grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 cup nonfat plain Greek yogurt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • Fresh strawberries, if desired

Combine 2 cups water in a medium saucepan with rhubarb, strawberries, quinoa, cinnamon and salt. Bring to a boil over high heat, then reduce heat to maintain a simmer. Cover and cook until the quinoa is tender, about 25 minutes.

Stir in ½ cup sugar and lemon zest. Whisk cornstarch with the remaining ¼ cup water in a small bowl. Stir into the quinoa mixture, return to a simmer and cook, stirring constantly, for 1 minute. Remove from heat.

Divide the pudding among 6 bowls. Refrigerate until cool, about an hour. Just before serving, combine yogurt, vanilla and the remaining 1 tablespoon sugar in a bowl. Top each serving with a generous dollop of the vanilla yogurt and fresh strawberries, if desired.

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