Quinoa is my current habit. Well, that and beets, but we’ll talk about beets in a future post. I’ve tried quinoa before, but struggled to find the culinary attraction in this strange looking grain with the little whilte curlycue tail. I’m happy to report that I’ve crossed over to the “gotta have it often” side of the ancient grains camp.
I’ve made it
three FOUR times this week and always serve it as a cool salad. It’s quick and easy and oh so healthy and fits well into a weight loss program! The texture is tender while crunchy, satisfying that need for something to chew on.
People I know that struggle with diabetes find it’s a grain they can process with little to no negative effects and I find it cures the carbohydrate cravings I have at mealtime. It’s like rice, but with a satisfying crunch.
The inspiration for this dish came from a whole wheat couscous sample provided by Bob’s Red Mill, at BlogHerFood this past weekend and liked how they served it — as a salad. I went back twice, although I prefer regular couscous to the whole wheat verison. With that inspiration I made my own version using quinoa. In my research to find a link to Bob’s Red Mill I found a link for the Moroccan Whole Wheat Couscous recipe they used at the demo table, but it was for a quinoa recipe that looks great as well, although not quite what they sampled.
I had a package of red quinoa in the pantry and while I find it has a bit more earthy flavor than golden quinoa, I needed to use it. I love the color, especially with the contrast of cucumber and parsley.
No matter the recipe, quinoa is wonderfully versatile. Give Quinoa a try. I’ll be surprised if you don’t find you love it and I hope you let me know. I’d love to hear from you!
- 1/2 cup quinoa (red or golden)
- 1 cup water
- 1/2 cup diced cucumbers
- 1 small shallot, sliced thinly
- 2 tablespoons parsley, chopped
- 2 teaspoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 teaspoon red wine vinegar
- 1/2 teaspoon smoked sea salt (or regular sea salt if not available)
- a few grinds fresh black pepper
- 1 tablespoon roasted, salted peanuts
- Bring the water to a boil on high heat.
- When the water is boiling, stir in the quinoa and bring back to the boil.
- Cover and cook for 15 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and let rest, covered for 15 minutes.
- While the quinoa is resting, whisk the oil and vinegar in a small bowl.
- Sprinkle with salt and pepper and stir unti combined.
- When quinoa has rested, let cool until it’s just warm to the touch, or put in the refrigerator to chill. I like to stir the oil and vinegar into the quinoa when it’s warm to the touch. The result is creamy quinoa.
- When cooled, add cucumber, shallot and dressing and stir to thoroughly combine.
- Sprinkle nuts on top and stir.
This delicious side dish will cost a Weight Watchers Points Plus value of 7 points.
Feel free to add your favorite vegetables and herbs. I’ve made the dish with fresh, thinly sliced radishes and a tablespoon of fresh baby peas. Cilantro, cumin and minced jalapeño peppers give the dish a South of the Border flavor.
If you’ve got vegetable broth in the house, use it to boil the quinoa. If you’ve got the points to spend, chicken broth would be delicious. Take a chance, use your imagination, you really can’t go wrong.