Have You Tried Quinoa “KEEN-wa”?


For the last few years I’ve been reading and hearing about a food that

  1. is smaller than rice
  2. looks like it could be pasta
  3. is actually related to spinach
  4. is slightly chewy
  5. is a good source of fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, folate, zinc, potassium, B6 and B12
  6. is gluten free
  7. is a complete protein
  8. has been used by people for centuries, including the ancient Incas
  9. is so nutritious, it is routinely referred to as a “superfood”

WholeLiving.com advises that quinoa may even help with headaches, stating “If you suffer from migraines, make quinoa a regular part of your diet; it’s rich in both vitamin B2 (riboflavin) and magnesium, two nutrients that may help decrease the frequency of these headaches“.

You may be asking yourself why it has taken me so long to give this small wonder a try.  Well frankly, the word “delicious” was noticeably absent from most of the otherwise glowing reviews.  It seemed too much to expect that this dietary gem could also be even reasonably palatable.

Recipes were plentiful.

This was very encouraging – with so many recipes being shared, somebody besides the most ardent health enthusiasts must find quinoa at least a little bit tasty.

  • This Quinoa Salad received 5 star reviews on the Food Network web site.
  • EastThis.com recommends quinoa as a delicious breakfast choice and features several recipes to start your day.

Despite all the recipes I found online, I was still worried and wanted to make my first experience with quinoa one that I wouldn’t mind repeating, so I turned to one of my favorite sites for foolproof recipes when taste really matters – Brown Eyed Baker.  Unfortunately, Michelle wasn’t exactly enthusiastic about the prospect either.  Instead of one of her usual amazing recipes, I found the following item referring to quinoa “ Confession #1: I realized earlier this week that I’ve never eaten quinoa. Confession #2: I have no desire to eat quinoa.”  Fortunately, she did not say that she had tried it and that it was horrible, so I decided to press on!

Two weeks after purchasing the quinoa, I still had not found a recipe that I wanted to use.  Last night, I decided not to experiment with an entirely new recipe.  Instead, I prepared my favorite baked, boneless, skinless chicken (thighs), and then used the same pan (with drippings) on the stove top to cook the quinoa.  Adding the water and quinoa to the pan, I brought it to a boil, and simmered for approximately 15 minutes as suggested in the package directions.  I also added some onions and seasonings, then waited the recommended five minutes, fluffed, and removed from heat.

Then, I tasted it.

The Verdict

After three or four years of hearing about it, several weeks of thinking about it, and two weeks of having it in my pantry and surfing the internet for recipes, this deserves at least an imaginary drum roll.  The first bite revealed that quinoa doesn’t taste bad.  The chewy texture will be a little challenging for me to get used to, but some people would probably like that.  I definitely want to keep experimenting with it.  Given quinoa’s potential nutritional benefits for me and my family, I think it is worth a few more tries.

How about you?  Have you tasted quinoa?  If you’ve been thinking about it, I would say give it a try.  You may really like it.  It doesn’t taste bad and with the right recipe it could be both healthy and delicious.

If you give it a try, please let me know what you think of it.  If you have a great quinoa recipe, please share it with us!