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What The Hell Is Quinoa And Why Is Everyone Eating It?


quinoa recipes

When I flip through my Tumblr every morning, I see some pretty badass stuff. Girls with six-packs I’d kill for, girls half my size lifting three times their weight, even crazy delish-looking smoothies that actually look appetizing (unlike all of mine that seem to always look like a mix between puke and poo thanks to the oh-so-healthy greens I add in).

There are some things that just confuse me, things I’ve never heard of that all of a sudden every health-conscious kid on the planet is putting in their mouths. First it was kale, and then chard (ew, just sounds gross). I’ll be honest, I’ve never tried either of these.

The only thing more prevalent than these leafy greens nowadays is a little pearly gem of a grain, quinoa. Ya know, I used to not even have any idea how to say it. I thought it was pronounced kin-o-a, but really it’s keen-wa. Oops, my bad. To be honest, for a while I wasn’t even sure what kind of food this was. Where did it fall on the food pyramid? Veggie, grain…it could be a dairy for all I knew.

A friend and I were feeling quite adventurous during a vacation, so we decided to grab some quinoa out of a large drum in her Sam’s Club-like supermarket and give it a go. We made an oatmeal-like, porridge breakfast mixture with cinnamon, honey, brown sugar, and bananas. It was delish! And perfectly healthy!

So, what makes this super food so special? After a little research, I figured out why everyone is freaking the eff out about it. Here are some facts about quinoa that will help you introduce it into your regular diets:

1.) It’s actually not a grain, it’s a seed. You know what this means? It’s PACKED with protein, at least as packed as these little guys can get.

2.)  As you can see from our great Pinterest board “What The Hell Is Quinoa?” it so versatile. We found recipes from casseroles to protein bars to pancakes that all have quinoa.

3.) Pretty much every recipe I can find about how to cook quinoa tell you to put two parts liquid for every 1 part quinoa in the saucepan to boil. Every time I do this it doesn’t cook entirely and isn’t as soft as it can possibly be. I add about three parts liquid to 1 part quinoa and let it simmer very gently covered, stirring every once in a while.

4.) It seems like all of a sudden everyone has a gluten allergy. I’m not sure if as many people actually have an allergy, a sensitivity, or maybe just don’t want to eat it, but good news for all of you — quinoa is gluten free!

5.) I’ve found that quinoa is a great base for a lot of different foods. I’ve found that throwing different foods with different textures makes the best meals. I’ll normally sauté veggies like onions, peppers, and spinach and throw roasted garlic chickpeas on top for a crunch. This was by far my favorite meal so far using quinoa.

6.) There are over 120 different types of quinoa, so if you go into the store and see a kind you haven’t heard of before, don’t be afraid! The most common types are black, red, and white. All are yummy and have slightly different tastes. Eat up and be adventurous!

7.) The only slightly annoying thing I’ve found about prepping this is that you’re normally supposed to rinse it. When you see how tiny the seeds are you’ll see why there’s an annoyance, I normally lose quite a bit during the process, but it’s worth it!

Check out this board on CC’s Pinterest for a TON of yummy quinoa recipes!

    Becca is a college senior studying English lit, French, and marketing in Naperville, Illinois. She loves a warm cup of tea and a great book, and a puppy wouldn't hurt either. She hopes to one day work in the publishing industry.