Quinoa is the latest rage!
Text and recipes by Chef Joey
Daylight savings has officially “darkened the day,” but we have several holidays, and the festive time of year to help migrate us to the spring. Veterans Day is more of a sale kick off pre-Thanksgiving, with focus on furniture, cars and other items and the new “Black Friday” slogan being moved up by slick marketing maneuvers. The real holidays for me involve food, of course, and visits.
I just got a Facebook message post from my friend Terry now living in New Zealand. He was reminiscing about how on his first Thanksgiving in the states, we dressed up fancy, and I drove to 56 or 57 of my friends’ houses and we sampled their turkey and the fixings. As he blogged, he said it was great to see so many different households sharing the same holiday with different foods!
I personally try and mix things up each year. I remember when “Green Beans Linda” was all the rage or sweet potato and marshmallow bake came to destroy our waistlines. Now our focus is headed to more organic, hormone-free and GMO-less foods that remain affordable. These items have always existed. I have mentioned them before – they are beans and grains.
Quinoa is the latest rage; it is related to spinach and beetroot versus a grain like wheat. And, if you buy it plain, it is incredibly inexpensive and good for you! And loaded with important dietary fiber.
Quinoa is a complete source of protein and contains all nine essential amino acids – and iron, zinc and magnesium that is key in digestion. The average portion of cooked quinoa is about 120 calories. You can make it like a risotto, as a side dish plain, with fresh parsley and cilantro. It is great cold mixed to mimic tabbouleh with chopped tomato, parsley, mint and onion with fresh lemon juice.
It is a great substitution for rice or potato because of the vitamins it packs. It also has several varieties, so it is not just a bland “white dish.” It can be lighter in color, or green, red and even purple-ish black!
A quick Black Bean and Quinoa Salad:
Cook the quinoa, drain and let cool.
Add 2 cups quinoa and a can of black beans …
… one chopped red pepper
… a small red onion and fresh parsley.
I sometimes add corn, as well.
Next make a homemade vinaigrette and mix together and serve! It is great as a cold side in the summer or a room-temp side dish. This dish can also be served hot by adding a few items you can make a “Quinoa Enchilada” or Burrito!
A basic recipe with a little help from some supermarket products:
Take one cup cooked quinoa, ½ cup each of corn and black beans …
… a chopped chili pepper for spice (optional).
Mix in fresh cilantro (never too much in my opinion)
Add a little ½ teaspoon of chili powder, salt and pepper.
Here comes the fun part: ¾ cup each of shredded mozzarella and cheddar cheese – and a 10 oz portion of enchilada sauce, you can pick mild to hot.
Mix all the ingredients with 1 cup total combined cheese and place into a greased baking dish.
Top with the rest of the cheese and bake 375 degrees for 15 minutes, until the cheese melts and bubbles.
Garnish with chopped parsley and tomatoes! Easy fast and healthy and serves 4 – double the recipe as needed!
Enjoy your Thanksgiving!