Quinoa is a seed originally cultivated by the people of the Andes, and has been a staple food in South America for thousands of years. Similar to a whole grain, the small quinoa seed cooks faster than rice and has the same nutrients. Today, quinoa is processed into flour, soup, cereal and alcohol. The light nutty flavor and fluffy texture of the quinoa seed make it a perfect substitute for white rice and pasta dishes. It cooks quickly, and is gluten-free and kosher for Passover. Quinoa can also be meat substitute for vegetarians as it provides all nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein. Varietals of quinoa include white, red, purple and black seeds, and it contains fiber, iron, magnesium, vitamin E and potassium.
Savory Quinoa: 1 teaspoon of canola oil, ¼ cup of diced onion, ¼ cup celery, ½ cup chopped carrots, 1 cup quinoa, 1 1/2 cups water, ½ teaspoon of salt, ½ teaspoon of white pepper, 3 tablespoons of olive oil, 1 tablespoon of red vinegar, ¼ cup of parmesan cheese, ¼ cup fresh chopped parsley. Rinse quinoa very thoroughly before cooking. Set stove to medium heat, add canola oil in medium sized saucepan, add onion, celery and carrots to soften for 2 minutes. Add the rinsed quinoa to the pan toasting the seeds about 4 minutes until they reach a light brown color. Add water, salt and pepper, reduce heat to low, cover saucepan, simmer for 15 minutes or until water evaporates. Combine the cooked quinoa in saucepan with remaining ingredients in a large bowl, mix thoroughly. Serve warm and enjoy.