Becoming Keen on Quinoa

A little adventure for breakfast is a good thing, especially when it comes to quelling cravings for things that might not be that good for you. I’ve been craving oatmeal, but the last few times I had it, things did not go as planned. Because I count my readers as polite company, I will spare the details.

I had picked up a package of quinoa a couple of weeks ago. It’s a seed from a South American plant that doesn’t fit the criteria for a grain for some reason, but it can be called in to pinch hit for wheat and rice in applications such as pasta. It cooks up in about 15 minutes, not unlike rice. It’s higher in fiber and has a lot of protein, so you’ll stay full longer. The flavor is slightly nutty, very pleasant.

Unless it’s part of a pre-rinsed mix, you’ll need to give it a good washing. Put it into a fine-meshed strainer and rinse, rinse, rinse. In its natural state, it’s covered in saponins, soap-like substances that protect the plant by making it taste like, well, soap. Pretty nasty surprise.

Cooking it is pretty easy–it’s a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa. Bring the two cups of water to a boil with a pinch of salt, then pour in the quinoa and let it go for 15 minutes.

I had half a cup with almond milk, blueberries, stevia, and cinnamon. It did the trick of keeping me full all morning long for not a lot of points.

Savory applications are in order as well. I think I hear a salad or two calling my name.

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