Superfood Status: Quinoa Recipes for Super Kids

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) has officially been touted as the world’s most popular superfood, and not just because of Gwyneth Paltrow’s high praises of the little powerhouse seed (nope, not a grain!). Quinoa is packed with vitamins, fiber, and minerals. Oh yeah, and it’s also Gluten-Free.

Thousands of years ago, quinoa was an important staple for the Inca Empire who, believing it to be sacred, worshipped it as the mother of all grains. It has only been a few years since it’s made its debut in this country and quickly soared to superfood status. Quinoa comes in three different types: white, red, and black. While the most popular type is white or ivory, there is a lot to be said for both the black and red types that hold up their shape better than the white when cooked, making them perfect for salads.

One of the only real drawbacks of quinoa is the bitterness. The biggest reason for this is due to a toxic glycoside known as saponin, which coats the surface of the quinoa seed and has a bitter taste. This residue is usually washed off before it’s sold, but sometimes the bitterness lingers.

The best solution for this is to thoroughly rinse your quinoa before cooking it.  And if you are planning to cook with quinoa flour, the best way to remove the inevitable bitterness is to spread the commercially bought flour on a cooking sheet covered with parchment paper, and bake for 2 hours at 215°F.

The sky’s the limit with quinoa-inspired creations. Here are a few of my recipes to make you fall in love at first bite:

Fruity Quinoa Energy Bars

Prep: 15 min.
Bake: 20-25 min.
Yields: 12 bars

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 cup chopped almonds or cashews
½ cup raw white quinoa (rinse thoroughly)
¼ cup raw pumpkin seeds
¼ cup raw sunflower seeds
3 tbsp. chia seeds
1 cup dried tart cherries, cranberries, or blueberries
3 tbsp. organic agave
¾ tsp. kosher salt
Handful of organic cacao nibs (optional)

  1. Set the oven to 350°F. Toast nuts, quinoa, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds on a rimmed baking sheet covered with parchment paper, stirring occasionally until golden brown; about 10–12 minutes. Let cool. Line an 8 x 8 inch pan with parchment paper, leaving overhang on all sides. Spray with cooking oil; set aside.
  2. In a food processor, blend dried fruit, agave, salt, and 2 tbsp. water until smooth and paste-like. Transfer to a medium bowl and stir in toasted nut mixture, chia seeds, and cacao nibs, if using.
  3. Reduce oven temperature to 200°F. Press firmly into prepared pan with fingers. (I find placing the parchment paper on top when pressing is helpful) and bake until no longer sticky, 20-25 minutes. Let cool completely. Place on a flat surface and cut into bars. Store in an airtight jar for up to 2 weeks (if they even last that long!).

Quinoa, Asparagus, and Dijon Salad

Prep: 15 min.
Yields: 4 servings

1 cup red, black, or white cooked quinoa (thoroughly rinsed and drained)
1 bunch asparagus
¼ cup peas, fresh or frozen
¼ cup feta, crumbled
2-3 radishes, sliced
¼ cup pecans
¼ cup dried cranberries or raisins
½ packed cup of arugula (spinach or kale can be substituted)

Steam the asparagus and peas until just tender.  Place all ingredients in a large bowl and toss together. Top with Dijon mustard dressing (see recipe below):

Dijon Mustard Dressing

½ cup olive oil
¼ cup white or red wine vinegar
¼ cup Dijon mustard
½ tsp. kosher salt, plus more
½ tsp. freshly ground black pepper

Whisk all ingredients in a small bowl or shake in a covered jar.

Vegetarian Quinoa Burgers

Prep: 30 min.
Yields: 4 servings

¼ cup quinoa
½ cup water
1 can black beans
¼ cup shredded carrots
1 tbsp. minced onions
1 egg
½ cup breadcrumbs
1 tsp. turmeric
1 tsp. ground cumin
½ tsp. salt
3 tbsp. vegetable oil
4 tbsp. Greek yogurt
1 Persian cucumber, sliced into rounds
4 buns

  1. Thoroughly rinse the quinoa and bring to a boil in ½ cup of water. Reduce to a simmer, covered, until the water is fully absorbed.
  2. Mash the black beans with a fork and mix in quinoa, carrots, onions, breadcrumbs, egg, and seasonings until fully incorporated.  Shape into four patties and fry in vegetable oil three minutes per side.
  3. Place patties onto bottom buns; top with 1 tablespoon yogurt and cucumber slices.  Season to taste with salt and freshly ground pepper; cover with the top bun.

What are some of your favorite quinoa recipes?

Tags : food   recipes   superfoods   quinoa   

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