Quinoa Discovery

Quinoa Tabbouleh Recipe
Photo by Randy Mayor

By Patricia Zick @PCZick

Once again my daughter took my hand and lead me to greener pastures. This time the pasture contained quinoa (keen-wa), and it was a beauteous discovery. Now I see and hear about quinoa frequently or at least I’m conscious of what it is.

Quinoa is not a substitute for rice; I’ve found it be the other way around. It’s actually a seed although most folks describe it as a whole grain. It’s more “whole” than the other foods in that category such as rice, barley, and millet. Quinoa provides all nine essential amino acids, which makes it a whole protein. As a result, it provides the highest protein content of all whole grains.

When I first started using it as an accompaniment to rice, I used a boxed recipe with spices already added. It’s rather expensive in the regular grocery stores. I went to Whole Foods and found it in bulk in white, black, red, or mixed. I decided to buy the mixed variety because the black, in particular, still has the hull on the seed and removes slightly crunchy after cooking. It gives the quinoa a nice flavor.

Quinoa was the staple food of people in the Andes region of South America for thousands of years – perhaps because it’s quite simple to make and nearly impossible to ruin. Here’s the basic recipe I follow: bring two cups of water with salt to a boil; add one cup of quinoa and boil gently for fifteen minutes. Let rest before using for best results. Once made, you can spice it up, use cold in a salad, or use in a recipe as I did the other night when I made quinoa burgers.

Quinoa Burger

2 cups of cooked quinoa (recipe above makes 2 cups)

¾ cup of your favorite cheese (I used goat cheese, but you could cheddar or Swiss)

½ cup low-fat cottage cheese

1 cup shredded and squeezed dry zucchini (or 1 carrot, finely grated)

3 eggs

3 TBLS flour

1 onion, chopped

½ tsp sugar

¼ tsp black pepper

1/8 tsp salt

1/8 tsp garlic powder

olive oil for cooking

In a large bowl, combine all ingredients, except for olive oil. Heat pan or griddle. Take ¼ rounded cup of mixture and plop on the heated pan. Let it cook on one side for a few minutes. Flip burgers and smash them flat with spatula. Fry until golden on each side. Makes 9-10 burgers. Burgers freeze very nicely.

What’s your favorite way to eat quinoa?

Published by P. C. Zick

I write. It's as simple and as complicated as that. Storytelling creates our cultural legacy.

8 thoughts on “Quinoa Discovery

  1. We love quinoa in our family! My daughter made a quinoa and lentil salad with arugula last night! I must have in one form or another twice a week. I’m so glad you discovered it!


  2. Here is another quinoa recipe you might like to try:

    Blueberry Quinoa Muffins.

    1 1/4 cups quinoa, cooked and cooled
    1 ¼ cup organic, unbleached all purpose flour
    ½ cup organic whole wheat flour
    2 1/2 tsp baking powder
    1 tsp salt
    1/4 tsp cinnamon
    1 tbsp grated lemon zest
    3/4 cup organic sugar
    1/4 cup oil
    3/4 c. plain Greek yogurt
    1 egg
    3 tbsp fresh lemon juice
    1 tsp vanilla extract
    1 cup frozen blueberries
    1. Preheat oven to 400F and line or grease a muffin pan.
    2. In a medium bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, salt and cinnamon. Stir in lemon zest and 1 1/4 cups of the cooked quinoa.
    3. In a large bowl, whisk together sugar and oil. Next, add in the Greek yogurt, egg, lemon juice and vanilla, stirring until fully blended.
    4. Stir the frozen blueberries into the flour mixture, and then fold the flour mixture into the sugar mixture. Fill up muffin cups and bake for 20-25 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.


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