Monday, January 10, 2011

Quinoa and Pine Nuts

I love quinoa and I love pine nuts. I really love a recipe that combines the two. Lemony Quinoa is exactly that recipe. I like to prepare quinoa for my lunches when I'm at home. A lot of the time I don't like to eat meat at lunch. I'm usually not a finicky eater, but I can really get sick of turkey sandwiches, so right now I'm "off sandwiches." This is where quinoa is perfect since it is a great source of protein. Quinoa is pronounced "keen-wa." I always get a chuckle when people come into our department (natural foods) asking for "quin-oh-ah." Of course it was only a few years ago that I had never even heard of quinoa, let alone know how to pronounce it!

Quinoa is a whole grain grown in South America. It has a slightly nutty flavor and is cooked very similarily to rice. It has a very high protein content and has a balanced set of amino acids, making it a complete protein. The flavor may take some getting used to since it's not as neutral tasting as rice. I really think it goes well with spicy mexican seasons, but it is also good as a breakfast porridge with cinnamon and brown sugar. We recently started carrying quinoa flakes at the store. The flakes are steam-rolled quinoa and only takes minutes to cook, compared to the 15 minutes it usually takes regular quinoa to cook. I like to make a easy microwave hot cereal with a combination of oats, quinoa flakes and ground flax seed. It's a great way to start the day.

Pine nuts are another one of my favorite ingredients. Pine nuts are edible seeds of pines. Pine nuts have protein and fiber, but more importantly they taste awesome. To really enjoy their flavor fully, you have to toast them. I just put them in a dry non-stick pan on the stove and stir over low heat until browned. It's important to keep an eye on them so they don't burn, because once they start to brown, they brown fast! I love them in quinoa and salads. They are also one of the most important ingredients in my Spinach Basil Pesto recipe.

Here is my recipe for Quinoa Porridge, adapted and greatly improved from a recipe found on

Dianne's Quinoa Porridge
Low-FODMAP, Gluten-Free
serves 2


1/2 cup quinoa, rinsed
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
2 Tbsp. brown sugar
2 Tbsp. sweetened dried cranberries


  1. Combine the quinoa, cinnamon and almond milk in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until most of liquid has been absorbed.
  2. Remove from heat and stir in brown sugar. Pour into bowls and top with more brown sugar and dried cranberries, if desired.


  1. I have got to find some Quinoa around here! I'm so anxious to try it!