Q. What is quinoa and how can I make it into a satisfying meal? — Larissa, Kimberly
A. According to Wikipedia, quinoa is “a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal or grain, as it is not a member of the true grass family.” Note that this is the first time I have used the word “pseudocereal” before. What is unique about quinoa is that it is known to be a “super grain” because the seeds contain all of the essential amino acids and thus form a complete protein. Quinoa comes in a variety of colors from dark brown to near white, and when cooked has a pleasant texture with a nutty, somewhat sesame-like flavor.
Quinoa can be prepared very similarly to rice. Before preparing, it is important to rinse the quinoa as there is a bitter exterior that helps protect the seeds from predatory birds and animals. It makes a great side dish as a pilaf and picks up the flavors of broths, stocks and aromatic herbs and vegetables very well. One suggestion is to sauté some vegetables like carrots, celery and onions in a pan. Then, add some stock and quinoa. Cover and simmer until done. Just another example of how delicious can be nutritious!