Curious about quinoa? The South American protein rich whole-grain is actually a seed that is packed with all the essential nutrients that make up an ingredient you do not want to miss out on.

Quinoa is a complete protein that has all 9 amino acids. A cup of cooked quinoa boasts 5 grams of fiber, 8 grams of protein and a significant amount of magnesium, manganese and phosphorus. The uber-healthy seed was once called the “gold of the Incas” because it increased the stamina of their warriors. If you want warrior strength, energy and endurance add quinoa to your diet and you will morph into a true soldier. Well maybe not instantaneously…but in any case, eat up!

Quinoa is an excellent accompaniment with any meal, but the miracle seed is so much more than a side dish. The versatile gem can replace your oats for breakfast oatmeal or add texture and heartiness to your salad. Transform quinoa even more with these filling recipes:

Revamp your Classic Granola
Quinoa Granola recipe via The Sweaty Betties

Ingredients:

1 cup quinoa
2 tablespoons pure maple syrup
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 cup flax seed
½ cup unsweetened coconut
½ c. dark chocolate chips (optional)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray.
  • Rinse and thoroughly drain the quinoa. In a large bowl, stir together the maple syrup, olive oil, and cinnamon; mix in the quinoa and flax seed until the grains are thoroughly coated. Spread the mixture out as thinly as possible on the prepared baking sheet.
  • Toast the granola in the preheated oven until lightly golden brown, about 20 minutes, stirring every 5 minutes. Let cool completely before storing in an air-tight container.

Bring your Veggie Burger to the Next Level
Quinoa burger recipe via Eating Well, Living Thin

Ingredients:

rounded cups cooked quinoa (see note below for cooking instructions)
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or other variety, if you prefer)
1/2 cup low-fat cottage cheese
1 medium carrot, finely grated (OR 1 cup shredded zucchini, squeezed)
3 eggs
3 tablespoons all purpose flour
2 green onions, including white parts
1 /2 teaspoon Splenda or sugar
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1/4 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
Olive oil for frying
To cook quinoa: 1 cup uncooked quinoa, 2 cups water, 1/2 teaspoon salt

Directions:

  • In a medium saucepan bring the 2 cups water and 1/2 teaspoon salt to a boil over high heat.  Add quinoa and reduce heat to low.  Cover and cook for 18-20 minutes, or until all water is absorbed and the seeds are tender.  Allow to cool for a few minutes.
  • In a large bowl combine the cooked quinoa, cheddar cheese, cottage cheese, carrot, eggs, flour, green onions, Splenda, pepper, cumin, salt, and garlic powder.
  • Heat a frying pan and a couple teaspoons olive oil over medium-low heat.  Mixture will be slightly sticky, so using a 1/4 cup measuring cup, drop mixture into pan and lightly flatten to 1/2 inch thick.  Fry until golden-brown, about 4 minutes on each side.   Makes approx. 10 burgers.

A Drool-Tastic Dessert
Quinoa Pudding recipe via Cooking Weekends 

Ingredients:

1/2 cup quinoa
2 1/2 cups milk
1/2 tsp cardamom
a pinch or two of nutmeg
2 eggs
2-3 tbsp maple syrup, to taste
2 tbsp ground flaxseed, (optional)
2 tbsp heavy cream, (optional)
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 pint fresh blueberries, rinsed and picked over
additional milk**

Directions:

  • Rinse the quinoa in water, then drain it before adding it to a small pot. Add 1 1/2 cups of milk reserving 1 cup. Stir in the cardamom and nutmeg and cook for about 20 minutes or until most of the milk has absorbed into the quinoa. You might have to lower the heat a touch and you will definitely have to stir it to keep the milk from burning.
  • Whisk together the eggs, remaining 1 cup of milk, maple syrup and flaxseed in a small bowl.
  • Stir the egg mixture into the quinoa and continue stirring it until it thickens, but don’t allow the mixture to boil as the eggs might curdle. Remove from heat.
  • Stir in the cream and vanilla extract. Cool to room temperature. **If the pudding seems too thick then stir in a few tablespoons of milk to thin it out to your liking.
  • Divide between four bowls or plates and sprinkle with almonds and blueberries.

 

Feature photo courtesy of nerissa’s ring via Flickr (CC BY 3.0)