Quinoa pronounced "keenwa" is an interesting grain. It looks a lot like couscous but has more texture and bite to it. It's similar to any grain in that you have to add flavor as it really doesn't have any on it's own. The key to cooking quinoa is to make sure it comes out light and fluffy, like rice. If you add too much liquid, it can be mushy and wet and you end up with a consistency similar to oatmeal which is fine if that's what you're looking for. Me, not so much. To be fair though, many people do eat it for breakfast because of it's higher protein content. One cup of uncooked quinoa has 24g of protein. It's high in carbs like other grains so keep that in mind when serving some up for yourself.
I have finally found the right ratio of quinoa to water/stock, thanks to America's Test Kitchen. Your quinoa will come out perfectly every time. Experiment and add anything you want like spices, fruits, veggies, nuts, and herbs. The list is endless. Here is a recipe that I saw on TV recently and changed it up a bit.
A couple of tips:
-Salt your water well as it provides some flavor to the quinoa. You'll use less later on.
-Rinse your quinoa before using it to prevent any bitterness
Summer Quinoa Salad
1 1/2 cup uncooked quinoa
1 3/4 cup stock or water
2 tsp. fine sea salt
1 Tbsp. olive oil
Directions: Add your olive oil to a saucepan and let it get hot. Add your drained and slightly dry quinoa and let it get hot, stirring for a few minutes. When you hear it popping, add your stock or water and salt. Bring to a boil and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and simmer for 20 minutes. After 20 minutes, take a fork and fluff it a bit. Make sure the water has evaporated and it's fluffy. If not, let it go for another 2-3 minutes. Remove it from the heat. Let it stay covered for about 5 minutes. Let your quinoa cool completely for this salad.
25 red seedless grapes, cut in half
1/2 of an English cucumber cut in 1/2 inch dice
1/2 cup of chopped mint
1/2 cup of chopped parsley
1/2 cup chopped sweet onion or green onion
1/2 cup chopped almonds (optional)
1 avocado, cut in 1 inch dice
2 limes juiced
1/4 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
In a large bowl, add all of your ingredients except the avocado, lime, olive oil and salt and pepper to the quinoa and toss to mix. In a small bowl, add your lime juice and olive oil, salt and pepper. Mix it well. Taste for seasoning. Pour over salad and mix well. If you like your salad with more tang feel free to add more lime juice. It's a matter of preference. I added one more lime to mine. Just keep tasting to get the balance of the lime juice and seasoning just right. Add the avocado last so it doesn't get mushy. I only add it to the salad I'm planning on eating right away. The rest I save and add it later so it doesn't turn brown. Hope you enjoy.
Adapted from The Kitchen