Quinoa Crisps & Sauteed Tomatoes

Move over, rice and potatoes, a super food from the Andes is knocking home runs through the culinary world!

Quinoa dates back to 3,000 to 5,000 B.C. and was a sacred grain to the Incas.   Along came the Spanish Invasion, and quinoa was discouraged and sometimes forbidden as a food source.  Wheat replaced quinoa, and potatoes became popular. Considered a food for the poor for centuries, quinoa has suddenly burst out of the closet and stepped into the spotlight.

A complete-protein seed (not grain) with high fiber and all of the amino acids, quinoa is high in calcium, iron, manganesium, phosphorus and zinc; an antioxident, it has also been praised for lowering cholesterol.   Gluten free, its  low glycemic index is a godsend for diabetics.  Best of all, it’s delicious, easy to cook and versatile!

Always wash and rinse the seeds several times to remove the soapy-tasting saponin coating from the seeds.  (I also rinse the pre-washed quinoa.)  Like rice, quinoa cooks in fifteen to twenty minutes;  two to one – water to quinoa – bring to boil then reduce, adding water if needed.  Consider cooking more than needed, because the leftovers are so convenient for impromptu side dishes.  At times a tiny grain of sand reaches the plate, and the ‘crunch’ greatly reduces the quinoa experience. Suggestions, anyone, on how to bypass those hard-to-find stowaways?

My friends love a rich spicy shrimp creole sauce ladled over a bed of quinoa.  Another favorite follows.


Finely dice and place in medium bowl:  1 medium onion, 1 medium green or red pepper, 1 rib celery

To the above,  add an equal amount of cooked quinoa

Add one egg yolk, salt to taste

Mix just enough flour to hold the above together.   The mixture should be soft.   Flatten into small patties and coat with crushed crackers, breadcrumbs or flour.*  (*If wheat intolerant, use alternative flours like quinoa or casava.)

Pour enough oil to cover the bottom of a skillet and cook on medium heat for five+ minutes and flip;  cook five more minutes or until golden on each side.

Crisp on the outside and moist on the inside,  these quinoa cakes will make you wish you had prepared more!