Quinoa Is The New Noodle

For months I have been hearing about how wonderful quinoa (keen-wah) is.  So far, everything I’ve been hearing has been positive.  It’s versatile, just as easy to make as rice, and extremely healthy.   It looks like couscous, but is incredibly different.  It is a whole food product – not processed glutanous flour-  like couscous is.  And it’s actually not a grain, it’s a seed.  

Here’s quinoa nutrition 101:

QUINOA, 1 cup
calories: 222
fat: 4 grams
carbs: 39 grams
protein: 8 grams
fiber: 5 grams
vitamin A: 0
vitamin E: 6% RDA
vitamin C: 0
manganese: 58%RDA
calcium: 3% RDA
iron: 15% RDA
magnesium: 30% RDA
phosphorus: 28% RDA

Yet, despite all these amazing facts about quinoa, I felt intimidated to make it because I didn’t know what exactly to do with it.  So the lonesome bag of quinoa – that I bought nearly two months ago – sat quietly in my pantry as I reached past it daily for the cereals, the pasta, the canned soups and the beans. 

However, last week I did something that I think I should have started doing a long time ago.  Rather than waiting until 8pm 10pm to think about what kind of lunch I should throw together for me and Jon the following day, I decided to make a large batch of rice, veggies and chicken on Sunday afternoon that I could store in meal-sized glass tupperware and eat for lunches throughout the week.  So this week, seeing as I didn’t want to make the same thing for lunch two weeks in a row, I started scouring my cupboards, hopeful to find something that would inspire me to make a masterpiece.

I found quinoa. 

Then, after a few minutes on Google, I found a worthwhile recipe


Recipe: Quinoa and Black Beans










  • 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
  • 14 ½ oz can of petite cut diced tomatoes
  • 2 T extra virgin olive oil
  • 9 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 2 jalapeños, chopped (for an extra kick save the seeds)
  • 2 ½ cups black beans (I added some salt, pepper and cayenne pepper for an extra kick)
  • 2 tsp cumin 
  • 1 tsp chili powder
  • 1 tsp mineral sea salt
  • 1 tsp black pepper
  • ¼ cup fresh oregano
  • ¼ cup fresh cilantro
  • ½ cup queso fresco (optional)
  • 1 avocado, diced


  1. Bring a pot of water and quinoa to boil. Boil for 10 minutes. Drain in a fine metal colander.
  2. Bring 2-3 inches of water to boil. Place quinoa in colander over the water. Place a clean kitchen cloth over the pot and cover with a lid. (Make sure the cloth is not so large as to cause a fire hazard) Steam for 10 minutes.
  3. Drain tomatoes, retaining juices. Add enough water to juices so that you have one cup of liquid.
  4. Heat a skillet over medium high heat. Add olive oil and jalapeno, cook for 30 seconds. Add garlic and cook 30 seconds more. Add black beans, cumin, chili powder, salt and pepper. Cook for 30 seconds and add in tomato liquid. Bring to a boil and then simmer for 7 minutes. Add tomatoes, oregano, cilantro and quinoa and cook for 7 minutes.
  5. Serve with diced avocados and queso fresco

I ended up making the recipe without cumin, cilantro and queso freso simply because I didn’t have any on hand.  However, I did add some baked chicken slices on top so that Jon would approve of this dish as an actual meal.  And it turned out great!  Honestly, I was really surprised with how much I liked this flavorful dish!  And now lunch for the week is done!  Happy, happy, happy!

Now that I broke the ice with quinoa I’m excited to try out a few more recipes.  Anyone have any quinoa favorites?


4 thoughts on “Quinoa Is The New Noodle

  1. Ty and I discovered quinoa a few months ago. We love it! No recipes here. I just use it in place of rice or make recipes up. (That’s just how I roll. So NOT a rule keeper when it comes to cooking.) We often eat it with just a little butter as a side with our meat & veggies. You can also toss it on top of a salad to add protein. Some people like to prepare it in chicken broth instead of plain water, or put it in soups and chili for extra protein. I have a friend whose kids like it warm with a little butter, sugar and cinnamon for breakfast. 🙂 Marci & Trent do a recipe similar to the one you posted. I think it has corn and diced peppers in it too. It’s pretty versatile stuff. And good for you.

  2. I was JUST talking to someone else about quinoa! I am in the same place as you…wanting to try it, having a bag in my cupboard…and still haven’t. I will have to try this recipe and the recommendation of the breakfast in the comment above! 🙂

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