The rise in veganism and easy availability owing to liberalized global trade have massively increased quinoa consumption all over the world. In the United States alone, the value of quinoa consumption is expected to almost double from $61.32 million in 2018 to $117.12 million in 2024.
One superfood is all the rage these days: quinoa. Pronounced "keenwah" or "kinuwa," quinoa is an herbaceous annual plant that is rich in protein, dietary fiber, dietary minerals, and B vitamins. Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America, primarily in Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador. The rise in veganism and easy availability owing to liberalized global trade have massively increased quinoa consumption all over the world. In the United States alone, the value of quinoa consumption is expected to almost double from $61.32 million in 2018 to $117.12 million in 2024. Europe, the world’s largest importing region of quinoa, held 34% of all quinoa imports from Peru, Bolivia, and Ecuador in 2019. In 2018, Spain became a net exporter of quinoa and surpassed the Netherlands in total export volume to become Europe’s largest quinoa exporter.
From a nutrition perspective, quinoa has a high concentration of protein and is naturally gluten-free. Quinoa is also a good source of zinc, magnesium, iron, folate, manganese, and phosphorus. In fact, it has been selected by NASA as an experimental crop in their Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned space flights. Compared to white rice, quinoa is way denser in nutrients like protein and fiber. While both are naturally gluten-free, quinoa will satiate an individual’s hunger with a smaller portion size; hence, it is a go-to food for weight watchers.
Cooking quinoa is quite easy. Bringing one part quinoa and two parts liquid to a boil over high heat and then letting it simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes to get rid of the excess liquid gets the job done. A point to be noted here is that quinoa should be rinsed before cooking to get rid of its bitterness.
1. Everyday Quinoa: This is a very simple dish to prepare. To prepare this dish, one will need the following ingredients:
• One part quinoa
• 2 parts water
• Shallots or onions
• Fresh herbs
• Olive oil
• Rinse the quinoa first.
• Then, to one part quinoa, add 2 parts water and bring them to a boil, after which let the dish simmer for about 15 to 20 minutes, and then add salt to taste.
• Now one may add sautéed shallots to this cooked quinoa with a drizzle of olive oil or temper the quinoa with some ground spices and oil of one’s choice.
• Squeeze a lemon on the dish and garnish with some fresh parsley. Now serve.
2. Quinoa salad: Another simple but extremely colorful dish is a quinoa salad. Ingredients needed are as follows:
• One part quinoa
• Two parts water
• Half a medium diced English cucumber
• One medium chopped bell pepper
• One cup grated or chopped carrots and or broccoli stems
• Half a cup of nuts and seeds like walnuts, pine nuts, and sunflower seeds
• Half a cup of cooked chickpeas
• Half a cup of fresh herbs like parsley, cilantro, basil, dill, or mint
• Half a teaspoon of honey
• Half a teaspoon of sea salt
• 1/4 of a teaspoon ground black pepper
• 1/4 cup of apple cider vinegar
• 1/4 cup of extra virgin olive oil
• Juice from 2 or 3 lemon wedges
• To the cooked quinoa, add all the vegetables and nuts, and combine in a large bowl.
• Now, in a small bowl, add the apple cider vinegar, honey, lemon juice, salt, ground black pepper, and olive oil and blend to prepare the dressing.
• Pour the dressing over the salad and toss well.
• Add extra salt and ground black pepper if needed. Now serve.
3. Quinoa upma: A quinoa-based iteration of the South Indian dish, quinoa upma is a hearty and healthy vegan dish. Ingredients needed are as follows:
• Half a cup of quinoa
• One and a half tablespoons of any neutral-tasting oil
• One third cup finely chopped onions
• Half a teaspoon finely chopped ginger
• One teaspoon chopped green chilies
• One dry red chilly
• Seven to eight curry leaves
• Half a teaspoon of mustard seeds
• Half a teaspoon of cumin seeds
• Half a teaspoon of husked and split black gram
• Half a teaspoon of yellow mung lentils
• One third cup of finely chopped carrots
• One fourth cup of finely chopped French beans
• One third cup of green peas
• One cup of water
• Salt as necessary
• Two tablespoons chopped cilantro
• Set the quinoa aside after rinsing it under running water and draining excess water.
• Add mustard seeds to the oil in a pan on low heat.
• Add cumin seeds, black gram, and yellow mung lentils to the pan when mustard seeds start crackling.
• Fry the pan’s contents on a low heat until the black-gram and yellow-mung lentils turn golden brown.
• Now add ginger, green chilies, dry red chili and fry on a low heat for about 30 seconds.
• Add the onions and curry leaves.
• Stir and sauté the contents of the pan on low or medium heat until the onions become soft and translucent.
• Add the carrots, green peas, and French beans and mix well.
• For about 2 minutes, sauté on low heat.
• Add quinoa and mix well. Sauté for a minute or two on low heat, add water, and mix again.
• Add salt according to taste, cover the pan with its lid, and let the contents of the pan simmer until the quinoa seeds are soft, fluffy, and translucent.
• Also, stir the quinoa while cooking as well.
• Once all the water is evaporated and the seeds are cooked well, remove the lid and turn the heat off.
• Add some cilantro and serve hot or warm with coconut chutney or lime pickles.
4. Quinoa bread: This is a sugar-free, yeast-free, gluten-free, oil-free, and nut-free bread that needs no kneading to prepare. Ingredients needed are as follows:
• One cup of quinoa
• 2 cups oats
• 2 tablespoons baking powder
• One fourth teaspoon baking soda
• 1/4 teaspoon salt to taste
• One and a half cups of water
• One tablespoon of apple cider vinegar
• Pre-heat the oven to 180 degrees centigrade or 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
• Powder the quinoa in a blender and transfer the powdered quinoa to a large bowl.
• Repeat this process for the oats, and add powdered oats to the same bowl.
• Add the baking soda, baking powder, and salt, and mix well.
• Mix again after adding water and apple cider vinegar.
• Line a loaf tin with greased baking paper and transfer the mixture to the loaf tin.
• Bake in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until an inserted skewer comes out clean.
• Let the loaf tin and its contents cool on a wire rack.
• Remove the loaf from the loaf tin and serve immediately, or store in the refrigerator and toast before eating.
5. Cumin quinoa patties: These patties may be consumed on their own as snacks with some sour cream and/or minced fresh cilantro or in vegetarian burgers, where they taste amazing and give the burger the crunch and texture that quinoa is known for. Ingredients needed are as follows:
• One cup of water
• Half cup rinsed quinoa
• One-inch pieces of one medium carrot
• One Cup rinsed and drained canned beans
• One fourth cup bread crumbs
• Three chopped onions
• One lightly beaten large egg
• Three teaspoons of dried cumin
• One fourth teaspoon of salt
• One eighth teaspoon of pepper
• Two tablespoons of olive oil
• Sour cream and minced fresh cilantro
• Bring water to a boil in a small sauce pan.
• After adding the quinoa, turn down the heat.
• Cover the pan and let the food simmer for about 12 to 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is gone.
• Put the carrot pieces in a blender and blend until they are coarsely chopped.
• Add beans and repeat process.
• Transfer the chopped carrots and beans to a large bowl. Hand-mixing cooked quinoa, eggs, seasoning, chopped onions, and bread crumbs
• Shape this mixture into patties.
• Heat some oil in a flat pan over medium heat.
• Add the patties to the pan and cook at 160 degrees Celsius for 3 to 4 minutes on both sides.
• Serve with minced fresh cilantro and/or sour cream.
Quinoa is nutritious and can be easily turned into delicious dishes that can be consumed by both weight-watchers and people who are not in the fitness domain. Its nutrient profile and health benefits more than compensate for the higher price, and its growing sales certainly indicate as much. The above recipes are not time-consuming and do not incorporate exotic ingredients, making them easy for even the average person who isn’t a culinary professional to prepare. Bon Appétit!