Quinoa? I can’t say it, let alone know what to do with it!
Let’s be honest here, did you know how to pronounce quinoa (keen-wah) when you first stumble upon it in an article of a health magazine? I googled that name in a heartbeat. I didn’t want to be the loser pronouncing it wrong, and then have people snicker at my ignorance when I say, “Why, yes, I love quinoa.” (pronouncing it Qwin- oah) I have more dumb moments than I’d like to mention, so I do a lot of behind the scenes prep to come off looking knowledgeable and intelligent.
I first heard about quinoa a few years ago. It was (and still is) one of the most talked about foods. They call it a superfood. Honestly, I was scared of it for a long time. It looked scary to me with those little gooey balls that seemed to be sprouting hairs…. Did that sound dirty to anyone else but me? Anyway, all I could think was, “You eat that?!” I think I’ll pass, thank you very much. Then after having it drilled into my head by countless health magazines, health shows, and John Tesh… yes, John Tesh. He is quite sneaky – getting into your head with all that Intelligence For Your Life. You remember how I said I have more dumb moments than I’d like to admit? Well, John has helped me have less dumb moments (Thanks, John!). So, after hearing how quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids (like lysine) and good quantities of calcium, phosphorus, and iron – I decided to give it a try. I actually found that it was quite good (when made right).
I have enjoyed quinoa at restaurants, social gatherings, ect. But, I had yet to try to make quinoa myself. Now that I had gotten over the fear of quinoa itself, I now needed to get over the fear of making it on my own. John Tesh couldn’t help me any longer – he told me the benefits of quinoa, but didn’t talk me through how to make it. No words of comfort, no advise on how to make the perfect quinoa dish. I was now on my own. Baby bird was leaving the nest. I made my way to Trader Joe’s and picked up the additional ingredients I needed to make my first quinoa dish. I have to say I am more than thrilled with the outcome. It turned out amazing! Very yummy and healthy. John would be so proud….
Ingredients:1 cup quinoa (I bought organic tricolor) 1 cup chicken broth 1 cup water 1 Tbsp olive oil 2 Persian cucumbers chopped (I find persian cucumbers are crunchier) 20 grape tomatoes chopped (sometimes TJ’s grape tomatoes are HUGE – use about 12 in that case) 1/4 cup feta cheese 1 large clove of garlic (finely chopped) 1/2 tsp pure sea salt Black peppercorn to taste wedge of lemon Avocado (for garnish, or if you choose you can add it right in) Rinse quinoa in cold water, drain and pour into a saucepan Add in chicken broth and water Let the quinoa come to a boil, then cover and reduce to a simmer for about 15 minutes (I start cutting my vegetables at this point) Remove from heat and fluff with a fork Add in salt and mix Let cool for 15 – 20 minutes While this is cooling I like to take my garlic and sauté it with a touch of olive oil. I feel it’s more flavorful when sautéed Once quinoa has cooled add in remaining ingredients (except lemon wedge) Mix well After all ingredients are mixed well – squeeze lemon wedge over the salad and mix again Add avocado slices on top for garnish Now you have a really yummy quinoa salad! You can add or take away ingredients to your liking. The possibilities are endless. Try making your own variation, but I still recommend giving mine a try too! This is great paired with salmon. I rub sea salt, black pepper, and curry on my salmon and pan sear with a little olive oil. Enjoy!
*My avocado wasn’t ripe enough, so you will not see the avocado garnish in the above pictures*