In my transition to healthier eating, I’ve been researching whole grains. My diet formulators give you no grains during the fat burning stage of your diet. Then they encourage nothing but whole grains as you transition out of it into healthy eating.

What is a pseudocereal? Apparently quinoa, the product of South American origin, is seed and not grain. It cooks nice and puffy (like the close-up from the gluten-free chef, right) like couscous (yum) but in one of those counter-intuitive genetic twists is closely related to spinach and beets.

I need to experiment with more recipes now that I’m in transition off my diet. This morning’s breakfast was cooked quinoa mixed with dates and a bit of orange peel. I’ve always been put off by the slightly bitter tang of this food. Some call it nutty. But that’s a stretch. Bitter is bitter.

This batch of quinoa wasn’t bad. Dates added a nice sweetness that didn’t completely mask the saponin. One foodie I was reading said people get used to quinoa’s bite and even learn to like it. An acquired taste, I suppose. Like a stout ale.

I went to one of my favorite reference books which, alas, doesn’t list quinoa. It does recommend a bunch of things common to spinach and beets. The Page-Dornenburg tome is based on existing popular recipes, and not theoretical affinities for blending flavors, but I can try this starting list: olive oil, citrus fruits, walnuts, tarragon, cilantro, and coriander.

After breakfast, I found this page from the Vegan Coach, which does list some complementary ingredients. Not dates, though.

As a breakfast food, quinoa with dates is a keeper. Mint looks promising. Corn–I would expect that, but I also like contrasting textures in a mixed dish and quinoa is like a bunch of teeny corn kernels. Maybe carrots instead.

About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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4 Responses to Quinoa

  1. crystal says:

    I’ve never tired quinoa but maybe I will now – I didn’t realize it was a complete protein. I did see this NYT page of recipes … http://topics.nytimes.com/top/news/health/series/recipes_for_health/quinoa/index.html?scp=1&sq=Quinoa&st=cse
    Breakfast for me lately is yogurt with cahsews :)

  2. Katherine says:

    I’ve always read that you have to seriously rinse quinoa. Here’s a set of directions I found, on a medievalist’s blog:

    “DO NOT skip or skimp on the rinse, or your quinoa (which has a very bitter natural coating) will be disgusting. My foolproof method for getting all that ick off is to place the quinoa in a really large bowl, mostly fill the bowl with water, let it soak for a few minutes, then get in that bowl and repeatedly rub handfuls of quinoa between your palms. Then drain the water (which should be quite cloudy), refill, and repeat 3-5 times, allowing the quinoa to soak for a few minutes each time, and draining off as much of the old water as possible without losing the quinoa. Be warned that quinoa is tiny and will go through (or get stuck in) all but the very finest strainers, so I find that draining with my hands works out just fine.”

    She gives a recipe for a curried quinoa salad; if you’re interested, let me know and I’ll find the link for you.

  3. Todd says:

    Thanks Katherine. The recipe sounds interesting. I usuallymake my own curry mixes, but I’d love to look at it. A quinoa tabbouleh is something I’ve been pondering.

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