Saturday night, I made my first ever batch of quinoa. I've read recipes for so many wonderful dishes, that I decided to make the entire box and portion it out for three different purposes.
First on my list was dinner for that night. I wanted to make a vegetarian meal that my Native Texan Husband (aka Mr. Meat and Potatoes) and my four year old would both eat. I decided to ease into quinoa and make a relatively simple and non-threatening meal. (As though quinoa is threatening, right? "You lookin' at me, cous-cous? YOU LOOKIN' AT ME?!") I made the quinoa according to the package directions and while it simmered, I opened a can of chickpeas, drained them and dumped them into a mixing bowl. I added about 1/2 teaspoon of cumin and 1/2 of ground turmeric and a healthy pinch of kosher salt. I stirred it around and decided it needed some brightening. Since I didn't have any fresh cilantro in the house, I decided to squirt on some lime juice.
Once the quinoa was finished, I removed half of it from the pot and then stirred in the chickpea and spice mixture to the remaining quinoa. I tasted it and found it to be a little bland, so I added an additional 1/4 teaspoon of cumin and turmeric and another pinch of kosher salt and it was perfect. I served it in bowls with low-fat feta cheese for sprinkling on top. It was absolutely delicious and I was so smug knowing that I was feeding my family something so full of protein and goodness without any processed nastiness. I told my husband I felt like some kind of crunchy hippie, but in a good way. Not a patchouli-smelling hippie, but a cool vegan one.
The second application I decided on was for adding it to my son's baby food. He's got four full teeth and two more that have just broken through, so he's into chunkier foods these days. He had sweet potato puree with a healthy scoop of plain quinoa mixed it. He wolfed it down and I briefly feared for my life when the bowl was empty. So, I used my handy ice cube tray and loaded it up with quinoa and threw it into the freezer. I'll add it to his veggies and even to applesauce for breakfasts.
And speaking of breakfast, there was enough quinoa left for me to try a little breakfast version tomorrow morning. I plan to sprinkle on some cinnamon and brown sugar and toss on a few almond slices, fresh strawberries and a splash of vanilla soy milk.
I'm still kind of stunned that a $3.00 box of quinoa made a whole dinner (with leftovers) a tray of baby food cubes AND a serving of breakfast cereal. I will definitely be keeping my pantry stocked with this Mother Grain from now on.