Ever heard of quinoa? How about keen-wah? "Keen-wah" is actually how you pronounce quinoa. Quinoa is an ancient grain, one of the staple foods of the Incas. It is a whole grain, gluten-free, a good source of fiber, and high in protein. Not only that, but unlike most plant foods, it is a complete protein. In short, it's good for you.
I first heard about it a decade or more ago in some healthfood-type publication. But I didn't get around to trying it until today. For being such nutrition powerhouse, it seems to be largely unknown except by those of the vegan/vegetarian persuasion, and it isn't widely available in supermarkets. I got mine in bulk at Whole Foods. The dry grain is tiny and round, and is cooked in a manner similar to rice.
I cooked up a pot this afternoon (rinse the dry grain first, bring 2 cups of water to a boil, add 1 cup of quinoa, turn heat to low, cover and simmer for 15 minutes). I served it with dinner, for the kids with just a little butter and salt, and surprise, surprise! they liked it! They don't particularly care for rice or couscous, so I was pleased. It has a mild flavor and a texture similar to couscous.
For myself and Craig, I looked at several recipes on allrecipes and kind of combined a few of them into this:
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 medium tomato, chopped
1/2 cup peeled, chopped cucumber
2 Tbsp chopped green onion
For dressing, mix together:
1/4 tsp minced garlic
2 Tbsp lime juice
2-3 tsp olive oil
1/4 tsp ground cumin
salt and pepper to taste
Pour dressing over quinoa mixture and combine. Chill. Makes about 3 cups.
I served it over a bed of spinach. It was light, flavorful and summery. It would be a good dish to take to a potluck or picnic instead of pasta salad. I'm glad I gave it a shot, and I will definitely be trying more recipes.