Quinoa is a seed, not a grain as many people mistake it as. But it looks like a grain. It’s popular because it’s quick and easy to cook. Quinoa is perfect for side dishes and main courses like salads, stews, grain bowls, and cakes. It is a food related to spinach, beets, and tumbleweed. Quinoa is a very versatile food that is cooked like rice but is more useful under different methods for recipes. Here are some of them to use with quinoa.
Quinoa Vegetable Salad
Warm canola oil in a pan over medium heat. Cook and stir garlic and 1/4 cup of chopped onion in the oil until the onion softens for 5 minutes. Then, pour in water plus 2 teaspoons of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of black pepper and boil it; stir in quinoa, reduce the heat low, and cover. Let the quinoa sit for about 20 minutes and drain the water with a mesh strainer before moving them to a large bowl. Refrigerate until it is cold; later, stir chopped tomato, carrots, bell pepper, cucumber, and corn into the bowl. Optionally, you can season it with some cilantro, mint, or sea salt. Top it off with some olive oil and balsamic vinegar and stir until it’s mixed up.
Turkey and Quinoa Meatballs
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F; heat canola oil in a skillet over medium heat. Add chopped celery, onion, and garlic and stir until it softens for about 7 minutes. Then, mix ketchup, balsamic vinegar, and soy sauce in a small bowl. Throw in the sliced turkey, quinoa, batted eggs, parsley, black pepper, and salt in a large bowl. Add the first mix with 1/3 cup of the second mix; spread another 1/3 cup of that second mixture on the bottom of two squared baking dishes. Make the turkey meatballs with your hands and pour the last 1/3 cup left over them. Finally, bake in the oven for about 20 minutes and the ketchup mixture is a bit thick.
Mix quinoa and water in a pan and boil it, then reduce to medium heat, cover it, and simmer until quinoa is tender. This should be 15 to 20 minutes. Then, heat a large skillet over medium heat and stir ground beef; do so until the beef is more crumbled and browned. Drain out the grease and put the beef on the side. Next, heat olive oil in a large pot over medium, stir in chopped onion, garlic, and jalapeños, and cook for another 5 minutes. Season it with chili powder and cook an extra minute. Stir it with the chopped tomatoes, black beans, red and green peppers, zucchini, and oregano. Top it with a taste of salt and black pepper and simmer it for another 20 minutes. Finally, add in the quinoa, beef, and corn for another 5 minutes on medium-low (optionally, you can mix in cilantro) before serving.
Quinoa is popular for its nutty taste, its slight fluffiness and crunchiness, and chewy-like texture. It goes beyond the vegetarian dishes and can be applied to anything. It’s a natural food that works wonders.