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Quinoa: Master of Disguise

September 20, 2011

I was first introduced to quinoa by my mom [of course], some time over the Spring when she began making an Ina Garten recipe with this mysterious pastina look-alike that I had been hearing about. I quickly learned that quinoa was anything but pasta, but actually much healthier and [if prepared the right way], sometimes tastier. After doing a little research and talking to my owner of my favorite deli I found out that quinoa is actually a grain. It has the highest source of protein compared to any other grain and is full of vitamin E, fiber, iron, and amino acids.

The first few times I had quinoa I really didn’t care for it. My mom was following an Ina recipe that called for different vegetables [carrots, squash] and it really just didn’t do anything for me. However, all of this changed last week when I was out to lunch with my mom at our favorite deli and she ordered a side of quinoa. I decided to have a bite and couldn’t believe what I was tasting. The dish absolutely delicious and so tasty. It was prepared with very thinly diced red onions, cranberries, a hint of coconut and a few other ingredients that I just couldn’t squeeze out of the chef. The thing I have discovered about quinoa is that like tofu, it seems to absorb whatever ingredients you put it with, yet doesn’t taste mushy or have an odd consistency. This South American grain is the master of disguise to creating a healthy lunch or perfect dinner side without tasting like another plain, boring salad. I’ll definitely be experimenting with some recipes in the future but for now, keep your eyes open in the grocery store and pick yourself up a pack to try.

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