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Quick Classic Meals with Quinoa

When you cook your first batch of quinoa, you may end up with a mountain of it sitting in your fridge, which is not uncommon. No one ever expects a small amount of dry quinoa to make so much. As a result, it is very easy to cook far more than you need for your first quinoa meal.

However, this is actually a good thing. This delicious, protein-packed tiny seed will quickly become one of your go-to staples. It is easy to plan several meals in advance and prepare quick classic meals with quinoa in a matter of minutes when you have plenty of cooked quinoa on hand.

For busy people who are dedicated to serving nutritious meals, but have limited time to do so, having quinoa cooked and ready in the refrigerator is a definite plus. By following a few simple and basic steps, you can quickly transform quinoa into healthy, classic meals for your family.

Let’s look at some of your choices for quick classic meals with quinoa:

Salads

Quinoa is wonderful in salads. Because of its chewy yet crunchy texture it is a new and interesting contrast to more common salad ingredients.

One thing I like to do is warm-up the quinoa and mix with cold ingredients such as cooked shrimp, avocado, and onions.

For an even easier, quick dinner, just add fresh salad greens, tomatoes, cucumbers and any other veggies you enjoy. You can even toss in left-over chunks of roasted chicken for non-vegetarians, then sprinkle with a tasty vinaigrette. In a few short minutes you have a fresh and colorful meal in a bowl. A slice of warm, crusty French bread with real butter finishes it off beautifully.

Another option is a salad without the greens. Mix the quinoa with garbanzo beans, avocado, and red onion. Top with a light drizzle of the juice of one lime and high-quality extra-virgin olive oil. This hearty salad makes a full meal in itself. This is the type of salad that can be made from ingredients already in your kitchen – making it a nutritious meal that can be tossed together on days when there is so little time.

Enhance the Basic Breakfast

With quinoa you can create a high-powered protein pick-me-up from a basic breakfast. You can either add quinoa to your oatmeal or replace the oatmeal completely. The protein will give your metabolism a jump start and keep it going all day.

Scoop a nice-sized serving of cooked quinoa in a bowl, add a little raw milk, honey and a dash of cinnamon and enjoy a creamy breakfast treat. You can also add a few slices of banana, fresh blueberries or diced strawberries. Either of these takes less time that it does to prepare instant oatmeal and both are more nutritious.

If your family is like mine and loves breakfast muffins, Use your imagination and whip up a batch with quinoa. It adds texture and a nice little pop to an ordinary breakfast muffins. If you need ideas and directions Martha Stewart has some great recipes you can try.

Patties of All Kinds

The extra quinoa you have in your fridge can used to make healthy delicious patties for any meal. The only limit is your imagination.

  • For breakfast – Try mixing cooked quinoa, leftover corn-on-the-cob (cut off, of course) and eggs. Or mix with finely chopped onions, green peppers, fried lightly in a little butter and served with your eggs.
  • For lunch – Combine cooked quinoa in a bowl with eggs, garlic, onions, Parmesan cheese, and some bread crumbs. Form into patties and cook for a nutrition-dense lunch.
  • For dinner – Make Southwestern-flavored patties with onions, garlic, and chili powder to go with your Fajitas or serve with black beans for a vegetarian-style dinner

Risotto

Risotto is a popular creamy, rich-tasting rice dish. It can also be made with quinoa for a lighter, but still creamy, nutritious version of this popular Italian comfort food.

This is a classic choice for your supply of cooked quinoa. Simmer the cooked quinoa slowly in broth, adding additional broth (a ladle at a time). Stir continuously until broth is completely absorbed. Add chopped chives, Parmesan cheese, and butter to the creamy mixture for a delicious quinoa risotto that even the pickiest eater will appreciate.

Sweet Treat

This may be a surprise, but quinoa makes a wonderful substitute for old-fashioned rice pudding dessert. Use your favorite recipes for this traditional dessert and simply replace the rice with cooked quinoa. It is sweet, delicious and filled with nutrients.

Cook Ahead

Cook a big batch of quinoa and keep it on hand in the fridge. It is a great basic food to keep at your fingertips for quick and easy preparation of nutritious meals.

When you are faced with the question, “What should I fix for dinner (or lunch or breakfast)?” you don’t have to go far. With a little creative thinking, you can turn a mountain of cooked quinoa into a culinary creations for any meal that will please the entire family.

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