Monday, May 13, 2013

My Quinoa Experience

I have a confession. I have been gluten free for 6 1/2 years now and up until two weeks ago I’d only had quinoa once. And that was because someone else made it. Yeah, I know. Hopefully I haven’t lost my credibility as a gluten free blogger.

And now I have another confession. I actually did make something with quinoa about 3 months ago… only I didn’t realize it till I made quinoa 2 weeks ago. The mystery of the disgusting granola was solved!

Three months ago I’d made some homemade granola with gluten free oats. It usually turns out amazing, but this batch was just gross and I couldn’t figure out why. I did what I always do: add oats, coconut oil, honey, and then whatever other seeds and nuts I can find. Everything was in plastic bags from the Winco bulk section and I just thought the quinoa was some kind of seed (flax, sesame, whatever. I didn’t know). Yeah… uncooked quinoa in granola is not good. Now you know.

So, now that you know how NOT to use quinoa, let me share some helpful info on it.

When I decided I wanted to start incorporating quinoa into my meal plan I turned to the best source ever: my facebook friends. They were very helpful! Here are some things to know:

  • Quinoa has a slightly “nutty” flavor (though my husband doesn’t agree with this).
  • It will take on the flavor of whatever you cook it in (chicken broth, cinnamon, etc.)
  • You cook it the same way you cook rice. For me, that means I use a rice cooker. I don’t like to bother with cooking rice or quinoa on the stove. I like putting the grain in, adding the liquid, pushing a button and not having to think about it till it’s ready to serve at dinner. Awesome.
  • Quinoa is super healthy. Since us gluten intolerant people can’t have whole wheat, we need to get our whole grains another way and quinoa is a great option (though, be sure to include a lot of other grains, too).
  • Quinoa is extremely versatile. It can be used for a savory dinner or as a sweet dessert or breakfast (like rice, and possibly even more versatile).
  • I buy mine from the bulk section at Winco (be sure to properly label it, so you don’t add it to things you shouldn’t Winking smile ).

So far I’ve cooked the quinoa two different ways and eaten it a few different ways. The first time I cooked it in chicken broth. It added a very subtle flavor to it. You can easily add more seasoning if you want.IMG_8819

Then I put some grilled shish kabob chicken and veggies on top. I loved it!IMG_8821

I used this marinade I found at Macey’s. It said “gluten free” right on it and didn’t have all of the “questionable” ingredients most store-bought marinades seem to have.IMG_8822

The chicken marinated in this stuff was incredible! The veggies were just okay. In the future I’ll save this marinade for just chicken and when I do kabobs I’ll use this marinade again. Both the chicken and veggies are delicious in that.

Once the kabob chicken and veggies were gone, I still had leftover quinoa. So I used it in my salad at lunch. IMG_8832

It had some leftover sweet pork, pinto beans, tomatoes, lettuce, cheese, and dressing with the quinoa. It was good.

The other way I cooked quinoa was with some cinnamon and vanilla in the water. Love! My friend gave me this recipe (though, now I’m trying to remember if she cooked it in almond milk or water in the first place… I’ll have to look into the milk thing). IMG_8847

Once it was cooked I added milk, raisins, pecans, unsweetened shredded coconut, extra cinnamon, and (not pictured) apples. It was so good! I had this for breakfast three mornings in a row. On the fourth morning I had it with blueberries, too. It’s yummy stuff. I just keep the leftover quinoa in the fridge, then heat it up before adding the extra ingredients.

There are so many options with this! I’m not doing much sugar right now, so the raisins are a must. I’m thinking once peach days in Brigham City, Utah start I’m going to have to have this breakfast with peaches and cream. Mmmmm….

I like the crunch the apples give this. And coconut is just always good. You can really add whatever you’re in the mood for that day. (Let me know what you try and how it turns out.)

Quinoa cooked this way would be the perfect addition to my rice and oatmeal breakfast recipe. Or it would even be a good substitution in place of either the rice or gluten free oats (I know oats bother many gluten free folks).

So those are the ways I’ve done quinoa.

Here are some recipes and suggestions my friends on facebook shared:

Laura: My kids like this one

Broccoli-Quinoa Casserole

Aubrey: I like to use it in place of rice, like for Hawaiian haystacks or with aunt Stephanie’s sweet n sour stir fry (Mmm!) in our family cookbook. I hear quinoa pancakes are good, hoping to try them soon!

Maggie: Quinoa pancakes are great. I have also cooked quinoa in beef broth and some taco seasoning and used it as taco meat.

Alyssa: This is one of our favorite quinoa recipes-it's so delicious (tastes kind of like pizza to me). We leave out the chicken and use veggie broth instead, but you can do what suits you best.

MediaChicken and Butternut Squash Quinoa Stew

Alyssa also shared: Here is another favorite. We just ate it tonight--everyone but the 2-year-old, anyway.

Quinoa Salad

And another friend said she has a recipe with fruit that she loves, but she’ll have to find the recipe. I might need to hunt her down Winking smile.

Thanks friends! (And thanks to MaKayle for the breakfast recipe.)

I’m excited to try all of these and more. I am definitely a fan of quinoa!

Do you eat quinoa? What’s your favorite recipe?


Joel said...

I wondered why quinoa started making regular appearances in our meals. . .

JaLesha said...

I bought some quinoa at Winco forever ago and still haven't used it. Thanks for the reminder and all the yummy recipes I can now try with it!

Angie Tyndall said...

Quinoa in place of rice for the Greek Lemon Rice dish, but put some ParmeSan Cheese in it is good too, but be careful as this cheese is salty and chicken broth already is for cooking the Quinoa in.

Angie Tyndall said...

Quinoa in place of rice for the Greek Lemon Rice dish, but put some ParmeSan Cheese in it is good too, but be careful as this cheese is salty and chicken broth already is for cooking the Quinoa in.