Pantry Staple- Quinoa

Keen-wah. It seems like quinoa has exploded in popularity in recent years, and it is all for good reason! Quinoa is naturally gluten free, a great source of protein, high in fiber, and an incredibly versatile ingredient. Quinoa is also one of the few plant based foods that are known as being a complete protein. This means that it contains all 9 essential amino acids- these essential amino acids are necessary for energy production, tissue repair, and nutrient absorption among other things. These 9 essential amino acids can't be produced by our bodies, so we must eat foods they are found in so that we can reap the benefits.

Quinoa can be the star of your meal, a side dish, you can make a yummy salad with it, or even use it as an ingredient in baking! The possibilities are endless. I love having quinoa on hand at all times, and I find myself using it at least once a week! We usually have plain white quinoa, but sometimes like to mix it up and buy tri-colored quinoa instead. Before we get into the ways I like to use quinoa, let me walk you through how to make it!

1. Start by rinsing your quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. This is an important step, otherwise you may be left with a very earthy tasting dish.
2. Add your rinsed quinoa to a pot, and add water. The ratio is 2:1, so for one cup of dry quinoa you will add 2 cups of water. I typically add an additional 1/4 cup of water, but I would use your own discretion when you are cooking :)
3. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil
4. Once it begins to boil, reduce to a simmer and cover with a lid
5. Continue to cook until all the liquid is absorbed, fluff with a fork
6. Enjoy!

A tip I use when making quinoa is to substitute 1 cup of water with low sodium vegetable broth, or to add a vegetable bouillon cube to the 2 cups of liquid. This makes for a super flavorful end result! 

Here are my three favorite ways to use quinoa:
Side- quinoa topped with crispy kale, and my homemade dairy free caesar dressing
Salad- Greek inspired quinoa salad with red onion, cucumber, and cherry tomatoes

Main dish- quinoa stuffed bell peppers with tomato, black beans, and corn

 (recipes for these will be coming soon, so stay tuned!)

Leave a comment below letting me know what your favorite quinoa dish is!
Photo by Ella Olsson on Unsplash

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