So I tried cooking with quinoa the other day. OK, not cooking, but baking. I have been wanting to try it for awhile now since I’ve heard and read a lot about it and it’s healthy benefits.
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa (I’m not going to tell you how to pronounce it as I say it wrong myself most times. So pronounce it any little way your heart desires) is a seed that is originally grown in South and Central America. The seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It also contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids which is another reason why it is considered a complete protein. Quinoa can be used as a grain and substituted for grains because of it’s cooking characteristics. The seeds are gluten-free which also makes it a great option for those who are sensitive to gluten. (source)
I bought my quinoa at the Bulk Barn although I’m sure it’s available at most health food stores. I decided to try quinoa granola. I figured starting out simple is the best way to go… from there the only way to go is up! I got the recipe from Bonnie over at Life to the full.
Let’s just say things didn’t start out smoothly since I realized after I already started rinsing the quinoa that I didn’t have a strainer. So by the time I finally got it rinsed, there was quinoa all over the place. From there, it was onward and forward. I found this to be an easy recipe which allows for variety depending on personal preference.
~ 1.5 Cups of rinsed quinoa
~ 1.5 Cups of rolled oats
~ 1/4 Cup of maple syrup
~ 1 tblsp. of cinnamon
~ 1 mashed banana (rather than using butter)
~ 1 tblsp. of vanilla extract
~ 1 handful of sliced almonds
~ 1/3 Cup of chopped dates
~ 1/3 cup of dried canberries, sunflower seeds and chocolate chips.
*I always add in a few extra chocolate chips for good measure :)
Pour dry ingredients into a bowl and then mix together. Add wet ingredients and mix until well blended with dry ingredients.
Spread evenly on a baking sheet and bake it at 350 for 30 minutes. Don’t forget to mix halfway through baking!
The granola was nice and crunchy when I took it out of the oven but when it cooled down, not quite so. I really enjoyed it with some milk, or mixed with yogurt with some maple syrup.
I would probably try cooking with quinoa again.. after I buy a strainer, of course. I understand why it’s healthy and it’s benefits but I don’t think it would be a regular in my diet as it does have a lot of calories and carbs. Although maybe the high fiber content is worth it? Maybe. I’ll think about it.
** I have tried this recipe again since Dec. 16th. I think I enjoyed it more the second time around as I wasn’t as intimidated or scared I was going to mess up. I played around with the recipe and added some almond butter and extra cinnamon. I realized afterwards that I actually forgot to add the maple syrup but it tasted fine! I definitely enjoy this for breakfast because it keeps me full for a long time.. and that’s hard to do.
Is quinoa a staple in your house? What do you like to cook it with?