500 Best Quinoa Recipes: A review of a fantastic cookbook

I love trying new foods. I’m all gung-ho at the beginning, ready to incorporate the new food into my family’s life.

But I fizzle out. You see, I love to cook, but I’m not that creative. Sure I can modify recipes for my liking or use ingredients I have on hand as substitutes for what the recipe calls for, and it usually turns out fine.

But when it comes to new foods, like quinoa, I get so far and then I kind of hit a wall.

I recently had the opportunity to review 500 Best Quinoa Recipes.

Two words: Fantastic Cookbook

Written by Camilla Saulsbury, this gem of a kitchen helper has so much to offer. From a very interesting history of quinoa (it was once “deemed a threat to Christianity and thus heretical.”) all the way to desserts (and who doesn’t love dessert?), this cookbook is my new go-to for healthy, delicious food.

The recipes are easy to follow, the ingredients are available just about everywhere (something I usually have a hard time with when cooking unusual foods) and Camilla provides great tips on how to work with quinoa in every form.

I also had the pleasure of meeting her recently. And she’s as wonderful as her latest cookbook!

She created and perfected every single one of the 500 recipes in this book. I have no words to express how much this impresses me. Until I got 500 Best Quinoa Recipes, I was pretty good at cooking quinoa like rice as a side dish and then using the cold leftovers for quinoa salad with some chopped green peppers and oil and vinegar dressing, but that was the extent of my expertise.

I don’t presume to come close to Camilla’s talent in the kitchen (her experience runs the gamut of food writer, recipe developer, cooking instructor and caterer), but her cookbook is definitely bringing me up to speed on this tasty, popular grain.

I have even made a few adjustments to one of the recipes because of a temporary dietary restriction my son was faced with. Check it out:

Basically, the recipe called for coconut milk, but a recent trip to the doctor had me withholding all dairy and rich, creamy foods from my son. He was, however, allowed to drink soy milk. So, where the recipe called for coconut milk, I substituted vanilla soy milk. It turned out fine. It wasn’t as rich as I imagine the coconut milk version would be, but I loved it and so did my kids. I’m really looking forward to trying the real version with coconut milk.

Another yummy recipe I’ve tried is the Peanut Butter and Quinoa Granola.

Peanut Butter and Quinoa Granola (page 35)

I have fond memories of my mother’s homemade granola, rich with nuts, honey and toasted oats. My version ups the flavor and nutrition ante with quinoa, peanut butter and dried cranberries. Spoon it up with milk, sprinkle it on yogurt or pack a handful in a small plastic bag for a mid-morning boost.

Tip

Any unsweetened natural nut or seed butter (such as cashew, almond, sunflower seed or tahini) may be used in place of the peanut butter.

•    Preheat oven to 325°F (160°C)

•    Large rimmed baking sheet, lined with parchment paper

2 cups    large-flake (old-fashioned) rolled oat s(certified GF, if needed)    500 mL

3⁄4 cup   quinoa, rinsed 175 mL

3⁄4 cup   lightly salted roasted peanuts, coarsely chopped      175 mL

1⁄2 tsp   fine sea salt   2 mL

1⁄2 tsp   ground cinnamon    2 mL

1⁄4 cup   natural cane sugar or packed light brown sugar    60 mL

1⁄4 cup   liquid honey or brown rice syrup    60 mL

1⁄2 cup   unsweetened natural peanut butter   125 mL

1⁄3 cup   vegetable oil    75 mL

1 tsp     vanilla extract (GF, if needed)     5 mL

2⁄3 cup   dried cranberries    150 mL

  1. In a large bowl, combine oats, quinoa, peanuts, salt and cinnamon.
  2. In a small saucepan, combine sugar and honey. Bring to a simmer over medium heat, stirring constantly. Turn off heat and stir in peanut butter, oil and vanilla until blended.
  3. Pour peanut butter mixture over oat mixture and stir until coated. Spread mixture in a single layer on prepared baking sheet.
  4. Bake in preheated oven for 40 minutes, stirring twice, until golden brown. Let cool completely on pan.
  5. Transfer granola to an airtight container and stir in cranberries. Store at room temperature for up to 2 weeks.

Makes about 4 cups (1 L)

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Photos by Colin Erricson. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

This is a great snack. I like it in my yogurt and my kids like on top of their Rice Krispies.

And with the cold weather on its way, I’m counting on the Black Bean Quinoa Chipotle Chili to warm us up after a fun day of tobogganing.

Black Bean Quinoa Chipotle Chili (page 184)

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   4

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   3

1 cup     quinoa, rinsed 250 mL

1    can (28 oz/796 mL) crushed tomatoes   1

3 cups    ready-to-use reduced-sodium vegetable or chicken broth (GF, if needed) 750 mL

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

Excerpted from 500 Best Quinoa Recipes by Camilla V. Saulsbury © 2012 Robert Rose Inc. www.robertrose.ca Photos by Colin Erricson. Reprinted with permission. All rights reserved.

My favourite thing about this recipe? It’s only two steps! I love easy. {{ insert satisfied sigh and dreamy look here }}

There’s just so much to love about this cookbook. I could go on and on. But here are couple of points that I think, nowadays, appeal to just about everyone:

  1. Quinoa is 100% gluten-free
  2. Quinoa is a super-easy superfood

So, whether you need a food to suit a gluten-free diet or you’re just looking for a healthy food that’s not going to complicate your life, quinoa is it and 500 Best Quinoa Recipes is the cookbook you’ll want by your side to turn this great little grain into fantastic mouth-watering dishes.

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Title: 500 Best Quinoa Recipes
Author: Camilla V. Saulsbury
Publisher:
Robert Rose Inc.
ISBN: 978-0-7788-0414-7

– – – – – – – – – – – – – – – – –

Disclosure: I received a complimentary copy of the 500 Best Quinoa Recipes for this review. I was not compensated in any other way. The opinions expressed above are my own.

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