What is Quinoa
Almost 4 years ago, I was introduced to quinoa. I had absolutely no idea what it was, how to pronounce it and if I could even find it in my local grocery store!
It did not take me long to absolutely fall in love with this wonderful food! It is versatile and can be used in so many ways.
So, what exactly is quinoa (pronounced keen wah)? Most think it is a grain but it is actually considered an edible seed and believe it or not, it is closely related to beetroots and spinach.
Amazingly, quinoa is considered a complete protein, a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorous and magnesium. To round it all out, quinoa is gluten-free, making it kinder on the digestive tract.
With all of these incredible components, it is easy to see why quinoa has been named a “superfood”. If you want to add a little color to your dish, there is also red and black quinoa.
Cooking Quinoa In A Crockpot
The most common way to cook quinoa is on top of the stove, however; I am far about being “common” about anything. If there is an easier, time saving way to tackle a task; I will find it!
I absolutely LOVE my crockpots! I have 2 bigger ones and a small one.
Instead of hovering over my stove and stirring for 20 minutes to get the right texture, I discovered I can cook quinoa in my crock pot for 2 hours, with the occasional stir and it comes out perfect every time!
Simply measure out your quinoa (rinse well first) and double the amount of water; for example if you want to cook one cup of quinoa, add 2 cups of water with a dash of sea salt, (can also use stocks for savory dishes and toast it in a pan first for another dimension of flavor ).
Many weeks, I will make a big batch and use it throughout the week for various meals. It is wonderful for everything from a breakfast cereal to stuffing peppers to salads (hold on tight, incredible organic quinoa salad recipe coming up) to substituting it in rice dishes.
Adding Vegetables To Quinoa
I just love to add fresh vegetables from my farmers market to my quinoa. I found this wonderful recipe at my local farmers market a couple of summers ago and it is a ”go to” salad for the summer.
It calls for certain vegetables but it can easily be adapted with any one you choose. I must say, though, beets are an ABSOLUTE MUST!
This can be a side dish or a meal within itself. It is cool and refreshing, yet hearty and satisfying.
Kansas City summers can be brutal so we crave anything to beat the heat! There are so many flavors and textures, it feels like a party going on in your mouth with every bite! I have discovered, the flavors are even better after the organic quinoa salad recipe has set in the fridge overnight.
This organic quinoa salad recipe definitely makes a perfect ”make ahead” dish and take to your next picnic or fun gathering. ENJOY!
Organic Quinoa Salad (adapted from www.cultivatekc.org) *all ingredients used are organic
- 1 1/4 cup quinoa
- 4 medium organic beets (I used various colors)
- 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lemon juice
- 3 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
- 1 pint cherry tomatoes (I used heirloom), cut in half
- 3 scallions, sliced thin (I used spring red onions and spring leeks)
- 1 1/8 teaspoon sea salt (and to taste for dressing)
- 2 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar
- 1 kohlrabi (any root veggie could work or can omit)
- 1/2 large cucumber chopped
- 1 cup of greens, chopped (your choice, I used beet greens)
- 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley, chopped
- Freshly ground pepper to taste
- Coconut oil or grass fed butter
- Rinse quinoa. Cook on stove top with 2 1/2 cups of water and 1/8 tsp of sea salt for 15-20 minutes until tender (or use my crock pot method). Remove from heat, let stand 10 minutes, transfer to bowl, cover and refrigerate about 2 hours.
- Cook beets and kohlrabi–first scrub well and peel the kohlrabi. This can be done 3 ways. 1. Boil in 1 in of water and salt until tender. 2. Steam until tender (in a steamer or steam basket over a pan of water) or 3. (my favorite) Roasting! Cut up beets and kohlrabi, rub with a enough coconut oil or butter to just cover, roast at 350 until tender. Allow to cool.
- In a small bowl, mix balsamic vinegar, lemon juice, salt and pepper to taste. Slowly whisk in olive oil.
- In a large bowl, combine quinoa, beets, kohlrabi, cucumber, tomatoes, greens and parsley. Toss in dressing. Serves 10.
- I already have additional ideas for the next batch! Mandarin oranges, dried cranberries, almond slices, to name a few. Get creative and have fun!
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What Superfood Are You Eating This Summer?