Recipe: Simmered Quinoa

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is one of my favourite whole grains. It is light, nutty in flavour and unlike a lot of other grains, it is good hot or cold. Quinoa is an ancient grain (actually a seed) of the Incas, grown high in the Andes mountain on rocky, alkaline soils. It is hearty to extreme temperatures and high radiation, ideally adapted to its growing locale. It provides an excellent vegetable source of protein, complete in its amino acid profile, an abundance of calcium, magnesium, iron, manganese and zinc, as well as the B vitamins.

If you buy quinoa in bulk, it will likely have grit that is difficult to remove even with washing. I advise clients to buy the boxed quinoa. In Canada and the US you can get Ancient Harvest Quinoa. Start with the ivory coloured grain as opposed to the red, only because it is a little lighter in flavour and would probably appeal to the palate of most people.

Serves 2 as a main course or 4 as a side dish.

1 c. quinoa
1 2/3 c. purified water
1/4 tsp. unrefined sea salt

Put quinoa in a medium sized mixing bowl, cover with cold water and swoosh the grain thru the water with your hand. Drain the water in a fine strainer. Repeat 2 more times. Bring the water to a boil in a heavy-bottomed, medium-sized cooking pot. Turn the heat down low, then add the quinoa, and the salt. Let simmer on minimum heat with the lid on for 15 minutes or until the water has been absorbed. Remove from the heat and keep the lid off for 5 minutes to let the steam dissipate and minimize the stickiness of the grain, or serve immediately.

As with any simmered grain, you can flavour it with a combination of the following

1/ Good quality fat – olive oil, sesame oil, flax oil, hemp oil or butter
(olive oil combines well with flax, hemp and butter so you can do them alone or in combination)
2/ Saltiness – sea salt, herbed salt, tamari (naturally aged soy sauce) or gomasio (combination of roasted
sesame seeds and sea salt)
3/ Herbs (preferably fresh) – ginger juice, parsley, cilantro, chives are particularly good on grains
4/ Seeds – sesame, hemp, ground flax, cumin, caraway