You may have heard about this little grain-like seed — after all quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) was one the buzziest foods of 2012 – but have you tried it?
This delicately flavored grain-like seed was a staple in the diet of the ancient Incas and has been called “the gold of the Incas,” or “mother grain.” Quinoa is gluten-free, easy-to-digest, and packs a powerful punch nutritionally – it’s a complete protein, and provides a plethora of essential nutrients, like folate, magnesium, manganese, zinc, and iron.
And it’s cute as a bug’s ear.
Where to Buy Quinoa
Quinoa seeds come in a wide array of colors, including black, red, gray, pink, yellow, purple, green, and orange. The most common colors are white and red.
You can find quinoa in most natural-foods stores and the natural-foods sections of many supermarkets or you can order quinoa through Amazon.
How Do I Cook Quinoa?
So now that you have this light, tasty, and easy-to-prepare “super grain” in your very own kitchen pantry, what do you do with it?
Quinoa is easy. Simply place 2 cups of water, stock, or broth (scant) in a wide-bottom pan and bring to a boil. Stir in 1 cup* quinoa, cover, and return to a boil.
Reduce heat and simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes or until all liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat, fluff with a fork, and season to taste.
I use my pan with glass lid so I can see when the liquid is absorbed without lifting the lid (which can affect the cooking time and results).
When quinoa is properly cooked, you can see little curled “tails” emerged from the grains/seeds.
* Quinoa almost quadruples in volume when cooked, so 1 cup of uncooked quinoa will make approximately 3 1/2 to 4 cups cooked, depending on the type of quinoa.
The User’s Guide to Quinoa
Not only is quinoa easy to cook, but it’s ultra versatile too. Quinoa can be used in all sorts of dishes, like tabbouleh, breads, stuffing, pilafs, salads, soup … and these very tasty Quinoa Patties!
- 2 tablespoons finely chopped parsley
- 1 medium carrot, peeled
- 1 cup cooked white beans, drained very well *see note
- 1 teaspoon dried oregano
- 1 teaspoon granulated onion
- 1 teaspoon cumin
- 1/4 teaspoon granulated garlic
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon arrowroot powder, corn starch, or tapioca starch
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 medium onion, finely diced
- 2 cups cooked quinoa
- Finely chop parsley in food processor. Transfer to another bowl and set aside.
- Cut carrot into large pieces, place in food processor, and pulse until finely chopped.
- Add beans, seasonings, oil, lemon juice, and starch and pulse just until mixed but still slightly chunky.
- Add finely diced onion, parsley, and quinoa and process just until mixed. Do not over-process; you want the mixture thoroughly combined but not mushy.
- Using approximately 2 tablespoons of mixture at a time, form into patties. (I use a cookie scoop to form the mixture into quick, nice, neat balls and then I gently pat them flat to form quick, nice, neat patties.)
- Heat small amount of oil in a nonstick skillet. Cook patties until browned on bottom. Turn over and cook until the other side is browned.