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5 Fantastic Organic Quinoa Recipes

organic quinoaAn exotic little seed that sprouts a tiny tail when its cooked, organic quinoa has so much going for it I barely know where to start.  It’s a gluten free grain that is very high in protein, it’s easily digested and can be used for a wide variety of dishes from pilaf to cold salads, breakfast porridge and muffins (yes, muffins!), savory sides and sweet desserts.

A South American staple food, organic quinoa was first used for food at least 3,000 years ago in the Andean region of Bolivia, Peru and Columbia.  The Incans called it the ‘mother grain’.   In the 1980’s quinoa was introduced to the US and its cultivation began to increase for the first time since the fall of the Incan civilization.  So powerful is this ancient food, the United Nations declared it a ‘superfood’ and NASA ranked it high on its list of possible foods for long duration space flight.  A good source of complete protein as well as other nutrients, organic quinoa is a great addition to any meal.

The number one reason I’ve heard from people who have eaten organic quinoa and didn’t like it is that it tastes bitter.  Organic quinoa has a coating on the outside of each seed of a compound called ‘saponin’, a bitter resin that needs to be rinsed off the grain before cooking.  That bitterness goes away completely once you rinse the quinoa.   Pour the amount you’re going to cook into fine mesh strainer and rinse it with water.  You’ll see soapy bubbles; that’s the saponin.  Rinse until the soapy bubbles stop.

There are a few different types of organic quinoa – white quinoa, red quinoa, black quinoa, and a combination of the three which is sometimes called tricolor or rainbow quinoa.  The darker varieties have a slightly nuttier flavor but they can all be used interchangeably depending on what color you’d like your final dish to be.

Now that you know the secret to cooking great tasting quinoa, I’ll share with you some of my favorite recipes: a breakfast porridge, a muffin, a hot pilaf, a cold salad and a dessert.

Five Fantastic Organic Quinoa Recipes

Organic Quinoa-Hemp Breakfast Porridge

Get a good start to your day with this protein-rich, hearty breakfast that is full of antioxidants and omega 3’s.

½ cup organic quinoa
1 cup hemp milk
¼ cup frozen blueberries
1 Tbsp hemp seeds
1 tsp cinnamon

Rinse and drain quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. Combine quinoa and hemp milk in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to a simmer. Cook 10 to 15 minutes until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is soft. Add hemp seeds, blueberries and cinnamon. Enjoy!

Quinoa Turkey Meatloaf Muffins

These muffins make it easy to get great nutrition on the run – perfect for lunchboxes for kinds and adults alike.

2 lb ground turkey
1/2 cup chopped raisins
2 cups cooked quinoa
1 cup grated carrots
1 small minced onion
2 eggs, beaten
1 Tbsp milk
2 tsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp oregano
salt and pepper to taste

Preheat your oven to 450 F.  Combine the turkey, raisins, quinoa, carrots, onions, salt, pepper, oregano and Worcestershire sauce together, combining well. Add the egg and milk and combine well so that the mixture holds together.  In an ungreased muffin pan, distribute mixture evenly, mounding the mixture on top.  Bake for 20 minutes or until completely cooked through.  Remove from oven and let cool a bit before turning them out of the pan.

Quinoa & Mushroom Pilaf

Enjoy this earthy, nutty pilaf instead of rice with dinner or try eating this cold on a bed of salad greens.

1 cup quinoa, pre-washed or rinsed
1 2/3 cups chicken broth or vegetable broth
3 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2 small carrots, diced
1/2 tsp thyme
1 ounce dried mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
Salt and pepper to taste
1/4 cup chopped parsley

Rehydrate dried mushrooms in boiling water and slice into strips.  Combine quinoa and broth in a medium sauce pan.  Bring to a boil then turn the heat down, cover, and simmer until quinoa is cooked, about 15 minutes.  While the quinoa is cooking, heat 2 Tbsp olive oil in a pan over medium heat.  Add the onions and cook until they start to soften, about 2-3 minutes.  Add the carrots and thyme and cook until carrots are tender, another 5-7 minutes.  Add 1 Tbsp olive oil, mushrooms and garlic and cook, stirring constantly for a few minutes.  Season with salt and pepper.  When quinoa is finished, remove from heat and combine the quinoa and vegetables and stir in the chopped parsley.  Enjoy!


Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad

A twist on a classic Mediterranean dish – by using organic quinoa in the place of bulgur wheat the dish becomes gluten free while maintaining all of the traditional flavors.

1⁄2 cup quinoa, prewashed or rinsed and drained
1⁄3 cup olive oil
1⁄4 cup lemon juice
1 cup roughly chopped fresh parsley
1 cup roughly chopped fresh mint
6 or 7 radishes, diced
1⁄2 cup chopped scallions
2 tomatoes, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

Place the quinoa in a small saucepan with 3⁄4 cup water and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to medium-low. Cover and simmer until the quinoa has absorbed all of the water, 15 minutes or so.  Remove from the heat and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Toss the cooked quinoa with the oil and lemon juice and sprinkle with pepper.  Let the quinoa cool completely, then add the remaining ingredients and toss to combine. Adjust seasonings and serve.

Chocolate Quinoa Pudding

A twist on a classic rice pudding recipe, made even more decadent with dark chocolate.

1 cup quinoa
3 cups almond milk
¼ cup maple syrup
4 Tbsp cocoa powder
1 Tbsp chia seeds

Add quinoa, milk and maple syrup to a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and stir in cocoa powder. Cover and simmer for 30 minutes, stirring frequently until the water has been almost completely absorbed.  Remove from heat and stir in chia seeds.  Let cool – serve warm or chill to serve cold.

Now that you have organic quinoa recipes for any meal of the day, which are you going to try first?

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I'm a firm believer that you are what you eat and I want to be fresh, local, organic and healthy! I've spent a lifetime experimenting with natural foods, different diets and ways of eating, and have settled on the food philosophy that Michael Pollan expresses so well: Eat food. Not too much. Mostly plants. I'm passionate about organic foods, natural living, cooking healthy meals, and improving my health on a daily basis.

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