Quinoa, also known as the "mother of all seeds", is a very versatile ingredient in the kitchen, especially appreciated by vegetarians, thanks to its high protein content, and by celiacs, as it is gluten-free. It is a very precious food for our body and, even if it looks like a cereal, it belongs to the beetroot and spinach family, therefore it is a vegetable ingredient and not a cereal. With quinoa it is possible to prepare different recipes, all healthy and tasty: salad, quinoa balls, quinoa with vegetables, or with shrimp and more elaborate dishes.
There are three types of quinoa on the market; the white is the most common and has a neutral and delicate flavor, also suitable for the preparation of desserts. The red and black quinoa, on the other hand, have a stronger flavor that resembles that of hazelnuts. You can find quinoa in special stores, herbal shops and on the shelves of large supermarkets.
Once you have purchased the variety you prefer, you will need to wash the quinoa to remove the saponin, a bitter substance, and then drain it with a colander. You can then put quinoa in a saucepan, cover it with double the weight in water and bring to a boil, letting it cook for about ten minutes. Once ready, let it rest for 5 minutes covered with the lid. Alternatively, you can toast the quinoa before cooking it, just like rice; but toast it in a pan without oil or butter. For cooking you can then use water or vegetable broth or milk.
Here are 8 quinoa recipes to try!
Quinoa salad is a fresh and nutritious first course, ideal for summer but to be enjoyed all year round, to be prepared as a variant of the more classic rice salad and pasta salad, or as an alternative to couscous. To prepare this delicious salad, rinse the quinoa well and drain it. Put it in a pot with water and cook it until the water is absorbed. Let it cool in a bowl and then add cherry tomatoes, sliced onion, corn and your favorite aromatic herbs. You can customize your quinoa salad with the ingredients you prefer, adding olives, tuna, or whatever you have in the refrigerator.
Quinoa with shrimps is a fresh and simple dish to prepare at home. A healthy, nutritious and tasty recipe that will conquer everyone. Let the quinoa soak for about 10 minutes. Meanwhile, cook the chopped tomatoes in a pan with extra virgin olive oil and garlic. After about ten minutes, add the previously cleaned shrimps and, in the meantime, boil the quinoa in plenty of salted water for 15 minutes. As soon as the prawns are ready, turn off the heat, add the chopped parsley, mix and add the drained quinoa, mixing it well with the rest of the ingredients, and serve warm or hot.
Quinoa burgers are an original and tasty second course, not only for vegetarians, but also a tasty discovery for traditionalists. It is also a simple dish that is prepared with a few ingredients, all of vegetable origin, so it is also good for lactose intolerant and vegans. Blend the beans with the basil in a blender. Cook the quinoa in a pan filled with water, add salt and extra virgin olive oil. Once the quinoa is ready, place it in a bowl, add the blended beans, chopped onion, aromatic herbs and breadcrumbs and form your burgers. Bake them in the oven for about 15 minutes or until golden brown.
Quinoa pies are delicious single-portion dishes to be enjoyed as a first course or as a hot appetizer. A simple and quick dish to prepare, the quinoa pie will conquer all your diners. Wash and drain the quinoa, cut the zucchini into julienne strips, cut the cherry tomatoes into small pieces and mash them. Cook the tomato in a pan with oil and garlic for 5 minutes. Add the zucchini, chopped olives and a pinch of salt and cook for another 5 minutes. Boil the quinoa in boiling salted water for 15 minutes. Drain it and pour it into the sauce. Mix and place the quinoa in the casseroles and bake in the oven at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes.
Quinoa with vegetables is another ideal preparation for this precious food. In our recipe we will prepare a quinoa with vegetables and with fontina or edamer cheese, ideal to serve as a first course, both hot and cold. Wash the quinoa well, drain it with a colander and cook it in plenty of boiling salted water for about 15 minutes, or until the water is reabsorbed, and let it cool. Cut the cheese into cubes and add it to the quinoa along with the olives, the tomatoes, onion and chopped mint and coriander. Add salt and pepper and serve.
Quinoa soup is a very tasty dish, ideal for a winter lunch. To prepare it, slice an onion, a carrot and a stick of celery and fry them in a pan with the oil. Add 2 chopped tomatoes and 100 grams of chickpeas. Rinse 100 grams of quinoa and blanch 100 grams of lentils in a pan with butter. Then put the lentils and quinoa in a pan, add the other ingredients, add the vegetable broth, salt, rosemary and simmer for about 40 minutes, stirring occasionally. Once ready, serve hot.
The quinoa and zucchini balls are a vegetarian recipe for a light and tasty second course, they can be served both as finger food appetizer and as a second course to combine with a rich salad; a dish that will conquer everyone, also children. Wash the quinoa, drain it and cook in plenty of boiling salted water for 15 minutes. Once cooked, put the quinoa grains in a bowl with the chopped zucchini, egg, flour, salt and pepper and mix. Make the balls with the mixture, pass them in breadcrumbs and fry them in a pan with high sides using very hot seed oil. As soon as they are golden brown, drain them, arrange them on a sheet of kitchen paper and then serve them hot and crunchy.
With white quinoa it is also possible to make sweet recipes, such as exquisite quinoa biscuits. Rinse 75 grams of quinoa, drain and cook in 150 ml of milk with 1 tablespoon of sugar and a little vanilla essence, until the milk has been absorbed. Then transfer it to a bowl and let it cool by shelling the grains with a fork, then add 1 egg, 100 grams of cane sugar, 20 ml of seed oil and 180 grams of flour and mix. Finally add 50 grams of chocolate chips, mix well and then form balls with your hands. Place them on a dripping pan lined with parchment paper and cook at 350 degrees F for 20 minutes.