The Incas believed quinoa to be sacred, its nutritional content surpasses all other grains and it is available in a pleasing rainbow of colors. Why isn’t quinoa more mainstream?

I often get on flirtatious kicks with various whole grains. It usually starts when I decide that I should incorporate more whole grains into my diet, I peruse the bulk bins at Whole Foods and come home with clear, twist-tied bags guaranteed to add interest and fiber to my cuisine. Familiarity first led me to a continued friendship with cous cous. A boring breakfast routine ignited interest in steel cut oats. A friend’s repeated recommendation convinced me to play with wheat berries, Most recently, this new cookbook has me hooked on Quinoa.

After reading the introduction of Quinoa 365, The Everyday Superfood, I really WANTED to love quinoa for all its wondrous properties. Pronounced keen-wah, this superfood contains a perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids, and is a great source of protein. The magical grain is also gluten-free, wheat-free, free of cholesterol and trans fats, contains natural antioxidants, and is a source of vitamin E, calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium. It is almost hard to believe that with all this good stuff that it tastes any good.

As I do with all cookbooks, I read from cover to cover marking pages of interest.  I was drawn immediately by the numerous breakfast options from these pumpkin pancakes to a tropical hot cereal made with coconut milk and pineapple juice. The next chapter features a number of cold salads, perfect for taking to work for lunch or bringing to a potluck picnic. I haven’t yet made it to any of the recipes in the main dish section of the book and I must admit that the desserts aren’t appealing to me.  I am more of a traditional cookie and cake kind of gal.

Though I haven’t found the dark colored quinoa at my local stores, my cupboard holds a healthy portion of yellow and red quinoa just waiting for me to continue my ventures through this new cookbook. Overall, I would highly recommend it to anyone looking to add a touch of healthy flair to the their diet this year.

I have added a few of my own notes to the this salad recipe from the book:

Quinoa and Chick Pea Salad

2 cups vegetable stock
1 cup dry quinoa
1 19 oz can chick peas
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1/3 cup dried cranberries
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
3 Tbsp chopped fresh parsley (or cilantro)

Bring stock and quinoa to a boil over high heat. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook 10 min. Turn heat off and leave covered for 4 more minutes.  If all liquid is absorbed, fluff with a fork. If not, leave cover on a few more minutes.  Transfer to large bowl and let the grain cool a bit.  Mix in chick peas, red pepper, cranberries, walnuts and parsley. Chill before serving. Stays good in fridge for up to 5 days.