Jun 28 2014
Quinoa confuses me. Firstly, yes, when I first saw it on store shelves, I was one of those that contorted my mouth into all kinds of different shapes trying to pronounce it exactly as it’s spelled. When I learned that it was pronounced KEEN-wah, I thought I was all set. Until I read the back of the box and found out it had carbs in it. What?!?!? Had everyone lied to me?
All I had heard about was how quinoa was a ‘perfect protein,’ a ‘pure protein’ that had no carbs whatsoever – that it was actually a seed, yet tasted and acted like a grain. A perfect solution for those trying to cut down on their carb intake. At first I figured it must have been the add-ins that were in the box. It was the type that had quinoa and garlic, some veggies I believe, and a whole spattering of other ingredients. But then I purchased a package of regular ol’ quinoa. No seasoning, no other ingredients, nuthin. I must be on the right track now, right? I flipped the package over, and to my dismay, saw that this regular quinoa had 72 mg of carbs per every 100g serving. That seems like a lot, doesn’t it?
So what’s going on? I don’t know. And if you’re in the same boat as me, I’m afraid I don’t have any answers for you. I have a feeling that with so many experts turning towards it and promoting it as one of the best things you can do for your health, it probably is better than eating a stack of potatoes or a huge pile of rice. But I’m not sure. I mean, in the 90s all we heard about was how butter and other monounsaturated fats were bad for us, and today we know differently.
I do know that quinoa still tastes really good – and that this quinoa salad is one of my favourite ways to eat it. Here’s a tip when you’re using this grain/protein, no matter how you’re preparing it: soak it in cold water for about 10 minutes, place it in a fine mesh colander, and then give it a good rinse. That will get rid of some of the coating that’s on there that can make it taste a little soapy or bitter. And if you have any idea what the real deal is with quinoa, please leave a comment below.
1 cup uncooked quinoa, soaked and rinsed $2.99
1 1/2 cups water Free!
1 cup cherry tomatoes (I used tri-colour tomatoes, but of course just red is fine if that’s all you can find), quartered $1.49
2 green onions, chopped $0.14
1 stalk celery, diced $0.13
3 or 4 radishes, diced $0.30
3 tablespoons basil, chopped $0.12
3 tablespoons parsley, chopped $0.06
2 tablespoons dill, chopped $0.09
2 or 3 tablespoons of olive oil (a couple of good glugs) $0.09
Zest and juice of 1 lemon $0.33
Total cost $5.77
Cost per serving $1.44
1.) Place uncooked quinoa in a medium-sized pot. Add water and salt, cover, and bring to a boil. Once boiling, turn heat to low and let simmer for about 20 minutes, until all of the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is nice and fluffy. Fluff with a fork, transfer to a bowl, and place in fridge to let cool for 30 – 45 minutes.
2.) Remove the bowl of quinoa from the fridge and add: cherry tomatoes, green onions, celery stalk, radishes, basil, parsley, dill, and lemon zest. Pour in olive oil and give everything a good toss to thoroughly combine all the ingredients. Sprinkle with salt and pepper, toss again, and taste. Adjust seasoning if necessary.
3.) Serve, or keep in fridge if making ahead, and enjoy!