Quinoa (keen-WAH) is the superfood of astronauts, recommended by NASA as “an ideal food for long duration space flights,” according to Medical News Today. And that’s likely not just because the cooked grains look like tiny versions of Saturn surrounded by a little ring.
Here on our gravity-laden planet, this nutty-tasting, gluten-free grain can help fuel feeling great. It provides more antioxidants than other gluten-free grains, as well as iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, vitamin E and fiber. It is one of only a few plant foods considered a complete protein on its own. To prepare, cook quinoa in two parts water to one part grain. It takes about 15 minutes of cooking time for the grains to become clear and ready to eat. Quinoa is a great alternative to rice in any dish, and here are a few other vegetarian recipe ideas to get you started:
Quinoa Breakfast Pudding
A hearty, warming alternative to oatmeal, you can create numerous variations of this dish with different kinds of fresh fruit and spices.
½ cup cooked quinoa
½ cup almond milk (or whichever milk you prefer)
handful of raisins
1 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp honey or maple syrup (optional)
Mix ingredients into a small bowl or pan to warm in the microwave or stovetop. You may want to double or triple it up to enjoy through the week.
Warm Quinoa Arugula Salad
Arugula is a peppery green that mixes well with this salad. Warming the salad also helps to mellow the peppery flavor as the greens wilt, but if you’re not an arugula fan, try it with spinach instead.
2 cups cooked quinoa
4-5 cups arugula
1 bunch red radishes, sliced thin
3 inches of daikon (white Japanese radish), sliced thin
4 oz white cheese curds, chopped (omit if choosing to eat vegan)
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp apple cider or white balsamic vinegar
½ tsp mustard
½ tsp salt
Pepper to taste
Whisk the dressing ingredients in a small bowl. Mix all the salad ingredients together, then toss with the dressing. Heat for about 30 seconds in the microwave to wilt the greens and soften the cheese.
Quinoa with Edamame, Miso and Mushrooms
A one-pot wonder that gets a healthy meal on the table in about 20 minutes. This version makes about three servings, so double it up if you’re feeding more humans.
1 tbsp olive oil
1 package of mushrooms, cleaned and chopped
1 clove garlic, chopped
2 cups quinoa
1 cup shelled edamame
2 tbsp miso
1 tbsp vegetarian bullion or 1 quart prepared broth
2 tbsp chopped chives
½ cup grated parmesan cheese (omit if choosing to eat vegan)
Pepper and salt to taste
Begin by warming the oil in a pot big enough to cook the whole dish. Add the mushrooms and garlic, then cook about five minutes until the mushrooms are soft. If using broth, add and bring to a boil. If using bouillon, add four cups of boiling water. Once the liquid is boiling, add quinoa and cook as directed, about 15 minutes. Near the end of the boiling time while there is still a little liquid left, add the miso and bullion (if using). Stir in the edamame, chives and cheese. Taste and add salt and pepper as needed – miso, parmesan and bouillon are salty so you might just need pepper. Allow to stand 10 minutes to absorb any last liquids, serve warm.