I was searching around on Google (a favorite past-time of mine) the other day for non-meat sources of protein and was surprised that quinoa (pronounced kee-no-wa, thank you Brittany for that clarification) kept coming up. I'd assumed it was some other random type of pasta like orzo or maybe a type of rice but I was wrong - go figure! It's actually a type of grain and now it makes more sense why I see it on a lot of blogs I know are written by vegetarians, it has about 14 grams of protein per serving. Not too shabby for a grain! I figured if I could find it in the store, I'd give it a shot.
And there it was. In the health food section, which isn't really that big so I didn't even have to search that hard.
Ever tried cooking and taking pictures with 3 cats in the house?
Always trying to get in my shots. We keep them off the counters as much as possible but they'll sneak up on you every once in a while, especially when food is involved.
We went to the farmer's market last weekend and had all kinds of fresh produce laying around so after reading through a couple of recipes (like this one on Brittany's blog, which is full of great vegetarian recipes if you're interested!) I thought we'd try a cold quinoa salad with as much stuff in it as I could fit.
Summer Quinoa salad
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups chicken stock (or vegetable stock if you want to keep it vegetarian)
- 1/2 cucumber diced
- 1/2 tomato diced
- 1/2 yellow pepper diced (or red or green, whatever you have)
- 1/4-1/2 red onion diced
I followed the directions on the box of quinoa which said to combine the grain and the stock (or water if you don't have stock, I just wanted to add a little more flavor), bring it to a boil then simmer for 10 minutes until the liquid is absorbed. I assumed like some of the other tiny things I've cooked (orzo, risotto) that these little grains were going grow and to avoid an overflowing pot I went with a bigger one to start. Not necessary! These actually stay about the same size. I also have a hard time with the whole "simmer" thing on our gas stove, and yes I do have the flame on low...so when it starts to boil I just take the pot off the burner for a minute or so and put it back on. It's like a little workout :)
While that was cooking and then cooling, I got to dicing everything else and contemplating seasonings.
- Garlic Gold nuggets
- ground fresh ginger
- lemon pepper
I let the quinoa cool for a bit and then tossed in the veggies and seasonings.
The Verdict: I was so surprised when Ty took a bite of this and loved it! I was convinced he wouldn't like the texture. He did not like cous cous the one time I made it and this is sort of like big cous cous texture-wise. I think I went a little heavy on the red onion, but since I'm a horrible dicer they were really easy to pick out. This also made pretty good leftovers for lunch the next day!
Do you read other blogs where they make foods that make you think, what the heck is that?