Food Talk And Fabulous Finds - Can You Help Me With Quinoa?

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01-10-2010, 02:16 PM
I've never eaten or prepared quinoa but I keep reading over and over again how great it is for you. I've read up on it a lot online and I'd like to add it into my diet. I've read that it is a good replacement for rice or cous cous, in your experience is that accurate? What does it taste like? Is it's consistency like cous cous? Do you have any good recipes that include it?


01-10-2010, 03:36 PM
We love quinoa. My kids call it "bugs with tails" because when it cooks a little piece pops out that looks like a tail. I cook it like rice and then spray it with Braggs (similar to soy sauce without all the sodium and wheat). It has a nutty flavour and it's a bit chewy and crunchy. YUM. Going to have to cook up some quinoa for dinner!

01-10-2010, 07:12 PM
I think it smells like oatmeal, which kind of put me off at first since I was going to be eating it with veggies. But with a little italian vinaigrette and veggies mixed in it is pretty good.

01-10-2010, 07:34 PM
Ok, I've got a Quinoa question too!

I found a recipe for it that I'd REALLY like to try. So I went out looking for it yesterday and couldn't find it. I asked clerks at 3 different stores (Albertson's, Safeway, and The Vitamin Cottage... which are the only real stores in my town.) None of them knew what it was. (They were all teenagers, so that probably didn't help.)

So my question is this: Where the heck do I find it?? What would it be near? Because I'm sure ONE of the stores probably has it... right???

01-10-2010, 08:09 PM
One thing that might be making the search more difficult is that it's not spelled the way it is pronounced (Keen wah).

You may know that, and the people you asked may not have - or vice versa.

I think our Walmart now carries it (in their health and gluten-free aisle), but generally I've almost never seen it in typical grocery stores unless the store has a huge health food section. I've had more luck in health food stores and bulk food stores.

I LOVE quinoa, and hubby was suspicious, but he likes it too. It's hard to describe the taste and texture. I would describe it as mild, and somewhat nutty. It's a bit chewier than rice, but more tender than wild rice.

I cook it much like rice (the instructions were on the bags I bought it in), and use it in recipes that call for cooked rice. It makes a good substitute for the rice in fried rice.

I also like making it as a cold salad with diced onion, celery, bell pepper and homemade oil and vinegar or italian dressing (adding some chicken or other meat if I want to make it a meal salad).

01-10-2010, 08:48 PM
I knew how it was pronounced, they still looked at me silly. I pronounced it and spelled it for them.

I didn't think about Wal Mart! I actually assumed they wouldn't have it... so I'll go look there :) Thanks so much!

01-10-2010, 10:37 PM
I was shocked to find it at Walmart too, actually their allergy and health food aisle had a lot of things I didn't expect, like Garfava flour (a blend of garbanzo bean and fava bean flours).

I find even in the health food stores (unless they're very small and run by the owner with little or no non-family help), that the staff often aren't very familiar with the product.

I can't tell you how many times I've asked for something, and a clerk will (often accompanied by a blank stare) say something like "Uh, I don't think we carry that," only to find it on the shelves myself.

A couple months ago I was in a health food store and asked for sprouting seeds - you would have thought I had been speaking a foreign language.

Clerk: Uh, do you mean alfalfa sprouts, we have those on the salad bar

Me: No, I want the seeds to grow my own sprouts

Clerk [confounded expression on her face] "You can grow your own sprouts? But isn't it too cold outside to plant anything."

Me: You don't plant them in the ground, you grow them in a jar inside.

Clerk: Really?.... Uh, I don't think we had anything like that.

Me: [returning to the counter a few minutes later with two different packages of seeds. One marked alfalfa and the other marked mixed salad sprouting seeds].

Clerk: [looking at the bag labels] "Oh, you mean these (obviously reading from the package and trying to sound like she would have known what I was talking about if I had worded my question differently). Yeah, we have these (no, really? Did you think I made them magically materialize to show you what I meant).

I have learned NEVER to trust a clerk in a store who says the store doesn't carry something (often they're too lazy to admit they don't know, because you might expect them to go look for the item). Once in a Target, my very pregnant sister was looking for a bookbag on wheels for her college classes - and a clerk said "Oh, no we don't carry anything like that," We turned a corner (just a few feet from where the employee was standing) and found an entire wall display of backpacks, several different styles with wheels.

01-10-2010, 11:09 PM
You might find Arrowhead or Bob's Red Mill brand in the flour/baking section in one pound bags.

Make sure you rinse it really well before cooking.

I've cooked it like rice and like pasta where I've drained it when the "tail" pops out and the center starts to look opaque. I've added it to soup where I've left it in so long it made an excellent thickener and gave me the creamy feeling without adding cream.

How to cook quinoa (

01-11-2010, 12:48 AM
Hi there,

I grew up eating quinoa. My mom made soups with it, and sauces, couple years ago she made quinoa salad with it. It had black beans, corn and lime/olive oil/pepper and salt. It was great. You can cook it in broth and it brings a nice flavor to it.

I've found it at King Soopers, Safeway, Walmart and SuperTarget. Not all Kings and Safeways will sell it, most likely the bigger stores will.

Hope you all enjoy it! I always put it in soups that I make instead of rice/noodles/potatoes. It has protein in it and it fills your tummy up nicely.

Just a note: My friend who recently started eating it a couple years ago, will eat it as a hot breakfast. She puts berries, nuts and some butter (she is not obese or trying to lose weight). She cannot eat any type of pasta, cereal etc. She has a really sensitive stomach and does not have any problem digesting quinoa. Thought I'd include that as an idea. I've never tried it like that, but I'm sure it tastes great.

01-11-2010, 07:46 PM
Winco carries it their bulk section.

01-11-2010, 11:18 PM
I found it!! (At Walmart)

I'm going to give it a shot tomorrow I think.

01-12-2010, 01:34 AM
It's the only whole grain that has protein. I love it.

01-12-2010, 04:50 PM
I had it last night at a restaurant with baked salmon and broccoli and it was so good I went out and bought a package right away. I found it in the health food/gluten free area of Randall's (which I went to only because it's next to work). Now hopefully, mine will turn out just as tasty.

01-12-2010, 07:25 PM
Do be sure you rinse it before you cook it - otherwise it is bitter! I cook mine with chicken broth instead of water for added flavor. Then if you at roasted red peppers, chick peas and a touch of feta cheese it is unbelievably good!
I have even seen some breakfast recipes where you make it with skim milk and then add cinnamon and blueberries but I haven't tried that yet!

01-12-2010, 07:35 PM
Is it lower in calories than rice and pasta is or does it have a similar calorie count?

01-12-2010, 10:12 PM
It's the only whole grain that has protein. I love it.

Most whole grains have quite a bit of protein.

01-12-2010, 10:45 PM
Quinoa isn't actually botanically a grain, although it's generally used like one.

It's sometimes called the only grain to provide a complete protein (that is it containing all of the amino acides humans need - usually only found in animal sources).

This isn't completely accurate, in that 1. (as already mentioned) It isn't actually a grain and 2. there are other non-grain foods used as grains that are said to provide complete proteins (such as soybeans, amaranth, buckwheat and I believe hempseed).

What's weird is that I've seen conflicting information in the same book! I can't remember what the book said was the grain that provided nutrition most "most like meat," (which sure implies complete protein) and then listed quinoa as the only grain to contain complete protein.

Then of course there's soy (which is a complete protein, but is a legume not a grain, but is often used like one in soy flour, for example).

Anyone confused, yet?

It's really interesting though (or maybe I'm the only one geeky enough to think so).

01-17-2010, 11:15 PM
Quinoa has a shocking amount of calories compared to rice.

1/4 cup dried

160 Calories
2.5g Fat
29g Carbs
6g Proteins

01-17-2010, 11:36 PM
Shocking? I think maybe you're comparing raw quinoa to cooked rice. Quinoa has approximately the same calories as an equivalent amount of rice.

Remember that to compare grains, you really have to compare the after-cooking weight and volume, not the weight in the dry form. Even so, the sources I checked show rice and quinoa to be very similar in calories both in the raw and cooked state.

Quinoa contains more protein, fewer carbohydrates, and the protein in quinoa (unlike rice) is a complete protein (rather rare among plant sources), but the calorie differences are neglible (in my opinion).

Comparing the calculations above to those below, quinoa would actually have 8 fewer calories than rice.

Brown rice (variety, jasmine)
cup dry
160 calories
2g fat
34g carb
4g protein
2 g fiber

Checking a few sources, and averaging I found these calorie counts for 1/2 cup cooked rice/quinoa

quinoa 1/2 cup cooked 127 calories
white rice 1/2 cup cooked 120 - 170 calories (dep on variety)
brown rice 1/2 cup cooked 110 - 150 calories (dep on variety)

01-18-2010, 01:21 PM
thank you all for the info and suggestions!

01-18-2010, 03:24 PM
Shocking? I think maybe you're comparing raw quinoa to cooked rice. Quinoa has approximately the same calories as an equivalent amount of rice.

It isn't that shocking !! that small measure of quinoa with puff up just like rice does and get fluffy. I second comparing the cooked grains together.