4 Yummy Quinoa Recipes

Quinoa has always been a superfood I have wanted to like and eat. I have never had the palate for quinoa however, due to bland preparations of it that I have made or been served. Quinoa is a complete protein, containing all nine essential amino acids, with tons of fiber, iron, and many other important nutrients (View my earlier piece on the 7 Benefits of Quinoa:The Supergrain of the Future). Who would not want to reap the benefits of this amazing healthy superfood?

A couple of weeks ago, I finally cracked the code of how to make quinoa tasty. It happened after I went to New York City’s Balaboosta, an amazing NYC Mediterranean restaurant in Nolita. Balaboosta’s quinoa dish was the most delicious of the quinoa preparations I have ever had. Balaboosta nailed the bowl of golden quinoa with dried cranberries, chickpeas, fresh herbs, and preserved lemon.

After my quinoa success at Balaboosta, I set out on a an adventure to master a very simple, easy to make, and quick side dish of outstanding quinoa at home that could be served alongside any vegetable. With great contentment I mastered the wonderful quinoa grain and am now hooked!

I hope you enjoy my vegan/vegetarian quinoa meals and expand on my recipes to experiment with your own. There are few things more fun than experimental creative cooking and the challenge of finding ways to make healthy foods we might not at first find tasty, into favorites! My quinoa meals left me feeling full, clean, and strong like the Inca warriors! Thanks to quinoa, my diet has reached a new level of health. I look forward to evolving beyond this one side dish. With cooking as in life, I feel that it is often important to move slowly, one step at a time.

1. Buckwheat Quinoa With Walnuts (You can use any kind but I love this one)

What You Need

  • Buckwheat quinoa
  • Smart Balance (There are many different kinds of Smart Balance but you can also substitute this with other healthy oils or flavorings)
  • Salt
  • Sautéed garlic
  • Walnuts, chopped (optional amount)

How To Make

Place 1 cup of quinoa with 2 cups of water in a pot. Set your flame to high until the water boils. Once the water is boiled, add 1 tablespoon of Smart Balance (or your alternative), walnuts, and salt to flavor. Cover your part and let cook for 12-15 minutes. Keep checking your pot to make sure the quinoa does not overcook or burn. It might need a stir or two while cooking. When the seeds become translucent and light, fluff the quinoa with a spoon or fork.

2. Roasted Eggplant with Pesto, Whole Pine Nuts, Garlic And A Side Of Buckwheat Quinoa

What You Need (1 Serving)

  • 1 Medium Sized Eggplant
  • Pine Nuts
  • Garlic
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Pesto
  • Salt

How To Make

Roast a whole medium eggplant drizzled with olive oil in the oven at 425 degrees on the top rack for about 30-minutes. Make sure to turn the eggplant so that the skin does not burn. Once the eggplant is soft all the way through, remove it from the oven. Add a fine quality homemade or store bough pesto (I bought mine). Make a slice down the center of your eggplant and separate the two sides of it keeping the base together. Carefully pull the eggplant meat away from the skin with a spoon and mash it. Add whole pine nuts mixing them in with the eggplant. Add your sautéed garlic (lightly cooked in a pan with olive oil). Top with a pinch of chopped garlic and salt (if you feel it needs the salt). Serve with a side of quinoa.

In my photograph you see a spear of broccoli I added to this dish for color to make a more artful presentation. I feel the presentation of a plate always adds to the quality of a meal. I love this vegetarian dinner and after the first time I made if felt as though I was suddenly in vegetarian heaven! The quinoa was the perfect accompaniment to my eggplant.

3. Sautéed Zucchini and Shitake Mushrooms With Buckwheat Quinoa

What You Need (1 Serving)

  • 1 Medium Zucchini cut into small triangles
  • Shitake Mushrooms
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt

How to Make

This recipe could not be easier to make and is very light and healthy. Sautee your zucchini and mushrooms with olive oil until both are golden. Make your quinoa as instructed above. Serve the vegetables with the quinoa beside them. This is the perfect vegan dinner, clean, filling, excellent, and completed in 15-minutes!

4. Soft Seitan Taco with Asparagus, Mushrooms, Cheese, With A Side Of Quinoa

What You Need

  • Green Asparagus
  • Mixed Mushrooms
  • 1 Small Corn Tortilla
  • Extra Virgin Olive Oil
  • Salt
  • Grated Cheese (any kind you like or a mix)

How To Make

Sautee your asparagus and mushrooms in olive oil until golden. Place your tortilla in a separate pan and lightly warm (careful that it does not get too crispy) both sides of it. Add your cheese to your tortilla placing a top over your pan to speed up the melting of the cheese. Once the cheese is melted, place your asparagus and mushrooms on top of the taco. Plate the taco with a side of your quinoa. This makes for a slightly more decadent meal, which is totally worth it!

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