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Quinoa - Super- Easy Superfood

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By now you’ve probably heard all the positive press about quinoa — it’s firmly established in the superfood hall of fame. Not only is quinoa incredibly high in protein (more than any other grain), but also the protein it supplies is complete, which means it includes all the essential amino acids. Quinoa is an excellent source of magnesium, foliate, phosphorus, iron and fiber, so it’s an ideal ingredient for vegans, vegetarians and flexitarians. And because it’s gluten-free, it’s an extremely valuable ingredient for anyone affected by gluten intolerance.

Did you know?

  • Because of their high nutrient content and infinite culinary possibilities, NASA as a possible long-term renewable food source is currently considering quinoa seeds for astronauts going into space on multi-year mission.
  • The United national Food and Agriculture Organization has declared 2013 The Year of Quinoa to celebrate its nutritional qualities and crop viability.

Quinoa has a wonderful texture and a delicious nutty flavor, is quick and easy to work with, and is now readily and inexpensively available in grocery and health food stores. And because it comes in several different forms — seeds, flakes and flour — it lends itself to myriad recipe ideas. Camilla Saulsbury , great recipe developer and cooking instructor, has worked her culinary magic once again to create mouthwatering quinoa recipes suitable for every meal and occasion, making this collection a must- have addition to any home kitchen. In her book “500 best Quinoa Recipes” you can find hundreds of meal ideas for incorporating this delicious protein powerhouse into your cooking repertoire. Enjoy!

Healthful Tip: The easiest way to prepare quinoa is to cook it like rice


Black Bean Quinoa Chipotle Chili

No one will ask, “Where’s the beef?” when sampling this incredibly delicious vegetarian dish. Simmering hearty black beans and quinoa with onions, garlic, herbs and spices creates a wonderfully complex chili that’s finished with fresh lime and topped off with tangy yogurt and an assortment of fresh flourishes.

Tip: If using the larger 19-oz (540 ml) cans of beans, you may want to add up to 1/2-cup (125 ml) vegetable broth or water to thin the chili.

Storage Tip: Store the cooled chili in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 2 days or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator or in the microwave using the Defrost function. Warm chili in a medium saucepan over medium/low heat.


  • 2 tsp.   vegetable oil    10 ml
  • 2 cups chopped onions 500 ml
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced           
  • 3 tbsp. chili powder    45 ml
  • 11⁄2 tbsp. ground cumin  22 ml
  • 2 tsp. dried oregano    10 ml
  • 11⁄2 tsp. chipotle chile powder  7 ml
  • 3 cans (each 14 to 19 oz./398 to 540 ml) black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1 cup   quinoa, rinsed  250 ml
  • 1 can (28 oz. /796 ml) crushed tomatoes       
  • 3 cups ready-to-use reduced-sodium vegetable (750 ml) or chicken broth (GF, if needed)
  • 1 tbsp. finely grated lime zest 15 ml
  • 1⁄4 cup   freshly squeezed lime juice 60 ml
  • Fine sea salt and freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 cup   plain Greek yogurt  250 ml

Suggested Accompaniments:   Fresh cilantro leaves, chopped green onions,  chopped radishes, crumbled queso fresco


1. In a large pot, heat oil over medium-high heat. Add onions and cook, stirring, for 6 to 8 minutes or until softened. Add garlic, chili powder, cumin, oregano and chipotle chile powder; cook, stirring, for 1 minute.

2. In a small bowl, coarsely mash one-third of the beans with a potato masher or fork. Stir mashed beans, whole beans, quinoa, tomatoes and broth into the pot. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer, stirring often, for about 30 minutes to blend the flavors. Stir in lime zest and lime juice. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Serve topped with yogurt and any of the suggested accompaniments, as desired.

Makes 8 servings


Skirt Steak with Horseradish Tomato Quinoa Salad

The sweetness of tomatoes is a wonderful foil to the distinctive bite of horseradish and watercress. Thin slices of skirt steak, quickly seared in a skillet, round out this inventive salad.

Tip: To mash garlic, working with one clove at a time, place the side of a chef’s knife flat against the clove. Place the heel of your hand on the side of the knife and apply pressure so that the clove flattens slightly (this will loosen the peel). Remove and discard the peel, then roughly chop the garlic. Sprinkle a pinch of coarse salt over the garlic. Use the flat part of the knife as before to press the garlic against the cutting board. Repeat until the garlic turns into a fine paste. The mashed garlic is now ready for use in your favorite recipe.


  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed 250 ml
  • 8 oz. sugar snap peas, strings removed 250 g
  • 3 cloves garlic, mashed (see tip) 3
  • 4 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil, divided   60 ml
  • 2 tbsp. prepared horseradish  30 ml
  • 11⁄2 tbsp. white wine vinegar 22 ml
  • 2 cups halved grape or cherry tomatoes 500 ml
  • Fine sea salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1 lb. beef skirt steak cut into 4 pieces 500 g
  • 4 cups packed tender watercress sprigs 1 l


1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook quinoa for 11 minutes. Add peas and boil for 1 minute. Drain and rinse under cold water until cool.

2. In a small bowl, whisk together garlic, 3 tbsp. (45 ml) of the oil, horseradish and vinegar.

3. In a large bowl, combine quinoa mixture, tomatoes and 2 tbsp. (30 ml) of the dressing, gently tossing to combine. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Separately cover and refrigerate salad and the remaining dressing while preparing steak.

4. Generously season steak with salt and pepper. In a large, heavy skillet, heat the remaining oil over high heat. Add steak and cook, turning once, for 3 to 4 minutes per side or until crusty and medium-rare, or to desired doneness. Transfer steak to a cutting board and let rest for 5 minutes. Thinly slice across the grain on a slight diagonal.

5.  Add watercress to the quinoa mixture, gently tossing to combine. Divide salad among four plates. Arrange steak on top. Drizzle with the remaining dressing.

Makes 4 main-dish servings

About author:  Camilla Saulsbury is a food writer, recipe developer, cooking instructor, and fitness trainer. Camilla has won several US top cooking competitions, including the $100,000 National Chicken Cook-Off, the $50,000 Build a Better Burger Contest, and the Food Network’s $25,000 Ultimate Recipe Showdown (Cookies Episode).

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Photos by Colin Erricson. All rights reserved: May not be reprinted without publisher permission.

Rating: 188 votes Current score: 3

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