A Little Time and a Keyboard: An Introduction to Quinoa

An Introduction to Quinoa

Monday, May 21, 2012

Today we are treated to a guest post about quinoa by Mary Whalen, founder of AH Moms. Quinoa is all the rage right now so I thank her for putting this together for us! I have used quinoa for salad before but never realized that it could be used in so many things!

An Introduction to Quinoa

If you haven't heard of the latest superfood out there, quinoa, get on Pinterest. People are posting recipes left and right. Though some love this protein-rich grain from the first time they try it, others need to develop a taste for it.

Cooking quinoa takes about 15 minutes. I've made it on the stovetop and I've made it in my rice cooker. I make large batches and spread the extra on a sheet pan and freeze it. I can grab a little at a time when I need it.

When quinoa is cooked, it looks like a tiny sprout and has a nutty sort of bite. Because it's almost like a cross between a protein and a grain, quinoa is used in a variety of ways.

Types of Quinoa Dishes

• Pilaf-style - Cooked with water and broth then mixed with other ingredients (veges, nuts, legumes, meat)
• Cold salad - Cooked quinoa is cooked in water then chilled and mixed with veggies, nuts, maybe chicken.
• Wraps and rolls - I've seen quinoa replace rice in sushi or act as the protein in a tortilla wrap.
Image via Wiki Commons.
Sneaking it In
If you're one who needs to get accustomed to quinoa, I suggest mixing a small amount with other grains to start to get accustomed:
• Rice - Add 1/2 cup cooked to 2 cups cooked rice.
• Stir Fry - Add 1/2 cup to four to six servings of stir fry veges.
• Burgers, meatballs, and meatloaf - Add 1/2 cup to a pound of ground meat. You might need eggs for binding.
• Stews - Add 1/2 cup to your favorite beef or bean stew recipe.

Sample Recipes
Here are some recipes you might want to try if you haven't cooked with quinoa before:
• Quinoa Pilaf with Pine Nuts - This is one of the first quinoa recipes I tried myself and have made it many times over the years. http://www.foodnetwork.com/recipes/quinoa-pilaf-with-pine-nuts-recipe/index.html
• Beef and Quinoa Meatballs - This recipe has quinoa in place of some of the beef and has asian flavors http://www.food.com/recipe/beef-and-quinoa-meatballs-385461
• Quinoa Veggie Stir Fry - This is a good option for vegetarians to try. http://www.savvyvegetarian.com/vegetarian-recipes/quinoa-veggie-stirfry.php
• Three Bean Salad with Quinoa - A summer-y option that includes edamame http://www.wholefoodsmarket.com/recipes/2553

Mary Whalen is the founder of AH Moms, an online community for moms who live in the Chicago northwest suburbs. She has two preschool-aged daughters and has a background as a technical writer and training developer. Since Mary started AH Moms last year, the site has grown to over 500 members who post questions and share tips, find moms groups, and share information on activities, programs, and resources for kids. AH Moms is open to any mom who has young children and is free to join.

For further information or to contact Mary, visit ArlingtonHeightsMoms.com or find AH Moms on Facebook as Northwest Suburbs Moms.

Food Network invites you to try this Quinoa Pilaf with Pine Nuts recipe from Ellie Krieger.


  1. Love Quinoa - absolutely love it. Just made Quinoa Pilaf. YUM YUM

  2. My 5 year old LOVES Quinoa (the 7 year, not so much, but we are working on it) It is one of my very favorites to cook with.