One of the hottest of today’s so called ‘superfoods’, quinoa can now be found in almost every supermarket. But what exactly is it? Well, quinoa originated in South America in the Andes, where modern day Peru is located. It was eaten by indigenous peoples of that region over 5,000 years ago and was considered one of their food staples, like wheat or corn in our lives today. However, it’s similarity to wheat and corn stops there. Quinoa is what experts call a pseudo-cereal, which means it is actually a seed! The quinoa seeds come in three varieties, red, white, and black. White is the most common, though you can easily find red in health food stores, like New Leaf.
Quinoa is a very healthy grain, which is low in fat and high in protein. The nutritional facts of 1 serving (1 cup) of cooked quinoa are below.
Now, the thing about quinoa is that without any additional ingredients it can taste bland. Just like eating plain pasta or rice does! So, below, we have two ways you can cook quinoa to ramp up the flavor.
2 cups chicken broth
1 cup dry quinoa
- Put chicken broth and quinoa in a sauté pan over medium heat.
- Allow chicken broth to simmer.
- Once the quinoa has absorbed the majority of the broth and looks fluffy, usually after about 10-15 minutes, it’s finished!
This is the easiest way to add some flavor to your quinoa. Keep in mind that one cup dry quinoa comes out to 3 cups cooked, so this will give you some leftovers if you are just cooking for yourself. Quinoa stays good in the fridge for a few days, so keep in to pop in the microwave with some diced chicken and veggies for a quick work lunch or easy dinner!
Quinoa and Marinara Sauce
2 cups marinara sauce
1 cup dry quinoa
- Put marinara sauce and quinoa in a sauté pan over medium heat.
- Allow sauce to lightly simmer.
- Once the quinoa has absorbed the majority of the sauce and looks fluffy, usually after about 10-15 minutes, it’s finished!
Now, this recipe might seem counterintuitive. Aren’t you supposed to put the sauce on after you cook it? Trust us, dear Empowered Fitness readers, this recipe is the bees knees! This cooked quinoa is great to stuff into bell peppers to bake in the oven or eat with high protein turkey meatballs. All hail quinoa and meatballs; you will never miss that spaghetti!
Enjoy the blog? Let us know your favorite quinoa recipes in the comments!