Time to Take the Quinoa Off the Shelf!

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April 28, 2015 by Dr. Sana Keller

buy-quinoa-300x300My first bag of quinoa sat in my kitchen cupboard for a few months before I finally took the plunge. I was fairly proud of myself for buying this healthy, trendy food—and knowing that it’s pronounced ‘keen-wah’, not ‘kwin-o-ah’—yet every time I saw it on the shelf, I would just tell myself, “Eh, maybe next week…” I also had several clients tell me they had quinoa in their cupboard—yet, when I asked how they liked it—the most frequent response was, “I don’t know…I haven’t tried it yet.”

What’s up with this? For me, I wasn’t exactly sure what to do with it…how to serve it…or what it tasted like. But after seeing so many simple recipes with quinoa and reading about its many health benefits, I had to check it out for myself. That was a few years ago–and although I’m not Queen of Quinoa, I’ve learned a few things. 🙂

Health Benefits of Quinoa: Impressive!

Quinoa’s health benefits are regularly featured in magazines and news articles, on websites and blogs. Not surprising since it’s a complete protein—a good fiber source—a great source of mono-unsaturated (healthy) fat, antioxidants, magnesium, folate and zinc—has anti-inflammatory benefits—and has a low glycemic index and is gluten-free. And…probably the best benefit–that makes it much more desirable to start using??? The taste! Quinoa has a very mild, nutty taste—that basically blends with the taste of the other ingredients—trust me, the taste will not be a turn-off!


An impressive list of goodness, wouldn’t you agree, for a food that doesn’t look or taste like kale or TYPES-OF-QUINOA-facebookBrussels sprouts*?  Next time you’re in the kitchen, pull out that bag of quinoa—or if you don’t have quinoa in your kitchen yet, put it on your grocery list. Quinoa is available in red, black and white, all with similar nutrition values, so choose your favorite color!

No Ripping…

spilledI would say ‘rip the bag open’, but trust me—opening the bag carefully with a scissors is a MUCH better option—so you don’t end up with tiny little balls over your floor like I did!  :/


Quinoa Cooking Basics—With 2 ‘Important Steps’ That are Often Forgotten

  • Measure the amount of quinoa needed and place in fine mesh strainer and rinse under rinsewater. >>Important step to rinse off the bitter saponin layer.  
  • Use a 2:1 ratio of water to quinoa: 2 cups water and 1 cup quinoa in a saucepan, bring to a boil and simmer covered for 15 minutes until tender.
  • Pour cooked quinoa into strainer once more to drain off extra liquid then place back in saucepan. Cover and let rest for 15 minutes. >>Important step for fluffy quinoa (instead of clumpy quinoa!)

Quinoa increases four times in size, so if you want 4 cups of cooked quinoa, use 1 cup of dry quinoa. Plan to make more than you need for one meal, keeping the extra quinoa in a covered container in the fridge for future use. See ideas below!

Deliciously Healthy Ways to Enjoy Quinoa

Quickie Quinoa Salad  Use lemon zest and a bit of lemon juice if you don’t have lemon-infused olive oil.

Greek Quinoa Salad   A perfect salad for dinner! Hope for leftovers for lunch the next day 🙂

Spicy Quinoa with Sweet Potatoes   A hearty, warming choice–I go heavy on the spice!

Lemon Blueberry Quinoa Porridge   Use a bit of real maple syrup for sweetener instead of sugars.

Apple Banana Quinoa Muffins   Yum! A muffin with protein, fiber and lots of goodness!

Quinoa Hashbrowns   A bit of potato along with the quinoa makes for much healthier hashbrowns!

Spinach-Pesto Quinoa   My Fave! Great with a small serving of grilled chicken or fish–and it’s a great way to sneak an extra veggie into the meal!



apple-banana-quinoa-breakfast-cups-4  FNM_110113-Spicy-Quinoa-with-Sweet-Potatoes-Recipe_s4x3.jpg.rend.sni12col.landscape  lemon-blueberry-quinoa-porridge-sl-x

*For the record, I like both kale and B sprouts (IF they are prepared well!) but I’ve run into several people who don’t like them…or at least think they don’t like them due to bad preparation.     😦

I would love to know what YOUR Favorite Quinoa dish is–Please share in the comments below–Or try one of the above recipes and let me know what you think!

To your ever-improving health,

Sana Keller, PhD, RN, CNC      Healthy Lifestyle Coach & Cancer Survivor Coach

Health Unlimited LLC

Photo credits: glutenfreeshoppingonline.com, seedguidesinfo.com, sodiumgirl.com, huffingtonpost.com, tablespoon.com, foodnetwork.com,

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