January 16, 2013

Crazy for Quinoa

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I've gone quinoa crazy! Quinoa is the super hero of super foods if you ask me :) It's nutrient richness is off the charts: it's a complete protein, heart-healthy, contains fiber, folate, antioxidants, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients, and it's low allergy risk making it a great choice for children/toddlers and the gluten intolerant. It was also one of the things that kept me feeling great during pregnancy.

Here's a collection of fun, delicious ways we love to incorporate this awesome superfood into our diet. I'll keep adding to this list as I post new quinoa recipes in the future. Enjoy!


RECIPES

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What is quinoa?
Pronounced KEEN-wah, it first became popular around 3000 BC in South America. Whoa, talk about ancient! Since quinoa is able to grow and survive in a wide range of growing conditions and has amazing nutrient richness, it's popularity soared for thousands of years. Around 1200 AD, maize and quinoa were the two main foods of the Inca Empire. More recently it's been gaining lots of attention in the United States and Canada.



Where do you buy quinoa?
I get mine in a prepackaged box at Trader Joe's.
There's white, red, and tricolor. Thanks to it's growing popularity, you can also find it in bulk bins at your grocery store.



How do you store quinoa?
Reseal the original package or store in an airtight container (I seal the bag with a twist tie).
It will keep even longer if stored in the fridge, but I've never done this.



How do you prepare quinoa for cooking?
Most people prefer to give it a good rinse in a fine-meshed strainer which helps remove the bitter residue from the saponins.



How do you cook quinoa?
In a saucepan, add 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid.
(You can use broth to give it more flavor, but most of the time I just use water.)
Bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover, and simmer for 15-20 minutes until the liquid has absorbed. Done!



Tell me, what's your favorite way to use quinoa!?


83 comments:

  1. I just opened my first package of quinoa and used it in granola bites I will share next week! Next venture...dinner foods!

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    1. Awesome! How'd you like it?? Can't wait to see your granola bites - YUM!

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  2. THANK YOU SO MUCH!! i have always wanted to know how to make quinoa! i really like it but i don't eat it much because idk how to make it. this is awesome and i cant wait to start making it myself and try all of your recipes!

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    1. My pleasure, glad this helps! Quinoa is easy to make but if you've never done it before, the unknown can make it intimidating. You can do it! Hope you enjoy the recipes - would love to hear how your first quinoa cooking adventure goes :)

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    2. If you can make rice, you can make quinoa! If you cook 1 cup of rice or quinoa, you just add 2 cups water. If it is still tough for you to figure out you can always go out and buy a rice cooker.
      Quinoa will cook in rice cookers!

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  3. I think I'm going to have to try quinoa again! My first attempt resulted in my 10-year old asking me not to make birdseed any more :( I obviously did something wrong!

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    1. Hi there! I couldn't help but giggle at your comment - kids say the funniest things, don't they? Excited to hear you're giving it another try! Hope it goes better for you this time. Would love to hear how it turns out!

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  4. I eat it like oatmeal with sugar and a little milk. It also goes well with several different sauces.

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    1. That's wonderful! And reminds me I still need to try it as a breakfast dish :)

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  5. Tabouleh Salad: Quinoa, parsley, green onions and fresh mint leaves finely chopped. Dress with lime juice, olive oil and a pinch of salt. Delicious!

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  6. This is how I got my kids to like quinoa--quinoa mac and cheese. Yummy! And you can play with it to do anything you like. Our last batch had bits of pancetta, red peppers, tomatoes, herbs. You can really throw in anything you want. If you chop it small the kids don't really notice it. It's an easy recipe, and good for the family. I also rinse mine first as this poster suggested. http://monimeals.com/meals/quinoa-mac-n-cheese/

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    1. Quinoa mac n cheese is such a winner - and I LOVE the extra addition of veggies! Happy kids and a happy mama :)

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  7. Oh, I forgot to add that a dash of Worcestershire sauce and a smidge of mustard in the mac and cheese recipe oomphs it up a bit too.

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  8. My husband has celiac so we need to get creative sometimes for his "carb" cravings! My favorite way to use quinoa is as a breading! (You just have to give over the fact that it's protein on protein ;) Take chicken or pork and set up a breading station (GF flour, eggs, cooked quinoa) and then pan fry with some butter. The quinoa sets up like breading and it's nice and crispy!

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    1. Hi Rebecca! Oh my gosh, that's so creative. I never would have thought about using quinoa as a breading! Genius idea - thanks for sharing!!

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  9. I just made this recipe and it is delicious! And you don't have to cook the quinoa before you bake!

    http://www.fitsugar.com/Healthy-Quinoa-Egg-Bake-Recipe-26947762

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  10. Very complete post on quinoa. You covered it all. I am trying to use more quinoa in the coming year. I just recently started messing around with it. I have a bag of the tri-color Trader Joe's quinoa in my pantry as we speak.

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    1. Thanks Eric! Have fun playing around with different quinoa recipes, I'd love to hear what you come up with!

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  11. I am SO happy I found your post. My family loves Quinoa, but I only fix it one or two ways. Thank you for this great list. I have shared your post on my Etsy shop fanpage. On Tuesdays, I share tutorials and recipes. I had to share this:)

    I invite you to stop by my shop: www.eljahb.etsy.com
    and my fanpage: www.facebook.com/eljahb

    Thank you!!

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    1. Hi there and thanks so much for sharing! Very kind of you :) Hope you find some new ways to enjoy quinoa!!

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  12. We are on a quinoa kick too. So I made a veggie lasanga last night. I layered strips of zuchini, cheeses (mixed grated parm, mozzarella, and cream cheese), mushrooms sliced, spaghetti sauce, and Quinoa. It was so yummy.

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    1. Quinoa veggie lasagna - WHOA that sounds incredible! That's definitely going on my to-make list. Thanks for sharing!

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  13. My favorite way is to cook the quinoa with a little salt...when it's done add some organic honey, raspberries, blueberries and a half of a banana..add some shelled pumpkins seeds and some canned coconut milk...healthy, yummy, filling breakfast!!!

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    1. What a phenomenal way to start the day! Adding this into my breakfast rotation :) Thanks!

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  14. I roast some veggies on a baking sheet with a little olive oil spray, that I cut into cubes, either zucchini peppers and onions or sweet potatoe, parsnip, rutabaga and onionand add to cooked Quinoa, it adds flavor and substance.

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    1. Totally agree! Just did this a few days ago with onion, carrot, and potato. Such a quick, easy, healthy dinner :) Thanks for sharing!!

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  15. I LOVE quinoa. One of my favorite ways to eat it is in stuffed tomatoes or peppers. I often make it like this recipe http://beautifultastyfun.blogspot.com/2012/06/barley-stuffed-tomatoes.html , except replacing the barley for quinoa. YUM.

    Also, I have successfully found quinoa in large bags at Costco!

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    1. Hi there! Thanks for sharing your recipe and for the Costco tip! That sounds like an amazing way to enjoy quinoa. I've done it with peppers before which is fantastic, but have yet to try it stuffed in tomatoes - yum!

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  16. I use it in place of pasta. Make my favorite spaghetti sauce and serve it on quinoa, or make a veggie lasagna, layering quinoa in place of the lasagna noodles. YUMMMM

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    1. What a perfect use for it and a healthy upgrade from pasta! Quinoa lasagna is on my to make soon list :)

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  17. http://www.eatliverun.com/chocolate-chip-quinoa-trail-mix-balls/

    http://iowagirleats.com/recipes/superfood-salad-with-lemon-vinaigrette/

    These are my 2 favorites! The first one (the trail mix balls) ARE SO AMAZING!!!!!! I keep them in my freezer then pop a few out and they are defrosted in a few minutes! Thanks for some more recipes!

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    1. Hi Jamy! Thanks for sharing those links - they look awesome. I can't WAIT to try the quinoa trail mix balls! Always on the lookout for more easy, quick snacks like that to change it up from my Chocolate Oat Balls we're obsessed with ;) Those look perfect!

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  18. Well I just thought i would add the first time i made quinoa was because i was making your quinoa and black bean soup which was of course awesome, but like the a lot of people i didn't know how to cook it...so i took a chance and used my rice cooker and it came out perfect i suspect because just like rice....it's ready when the water is all gone so the rice cooker shuts off when the water is gone. Anyways i find rice cooker is the best way for me because i don't have to do anything special, just set it and carry on with my other chopping etc.

    Thanks for all the great recipes i have made tons of them and i keep trying new ones every month. My favorite is actually the pesto mushroom lovers pizza...my husband requests it over and over and over again.

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    1. Hey, great to hear from you again! I never would have thought to cook quinoa in a rice cooker but that makes perfect sense, and makes it even easier than it already is to cook - awesome! I'm so glad you and your husband are finding lots of recipes you like. Thanks for letting me know, that's so wonderful to hear :) I'm in the mood for that pesto mushroom pizza again now!

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  19. Thanks for the great ideas. I usually make a salad with quinoa, black beans and corn, drizzling with some olive oil, red wine vinegar, salt and pepper. I'll eat warm or cold, plain or with some grilled chicken and avacados. Super yummy and healthy.

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    1. Sounds delicious! Quinoa salads are so fantastic and easy :)

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  20. ooh I'm new-ish to quinoa and am surprised by just how much I like it. I never thought I'd find anything to replace my beloved brown jasmin rice ... but I am having a serious affair with quinoa.

    My first and favorite way to make it is a riff on Chipolte's Lime & Cilantro Rice. Just toast it in a bit of butter and add a juiced lime and it's zest to the cooking liquid. Add a handful of chopped cilantro once it has finished cooking. It's great in burritos and under braised meat.

    My 2nd favorite way comes from Mark Bittman's The Food Matters Cookbook:
    ~~~~
    Chipotle Quinoa with Corn and Black Beans

    2 tablespoons olive oil
    1 sweet yellow onion, chopped
    2 large cloves garlic, minced
    1-2 canned chipotle chiles, minced, with some of their adobo sauce (I used less than 1 chile because I'm a wimp - these are spicy! Just go by your palate, depending on how spicy you like it)
    1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
    1 cup quinoa, well-rinsed and drained
    salt and pepper
    1 1/2 cups cooked black beans (or use 1 can, drained and rinsed)
    1/2 cup corn (I used frozen)
    1 1/2 cups vegetable stock (or beer or water)
    lime wedges and 1-2 thinly sliced green onions, for serving

    Heat the oil in a medium sauce pan over medium heat. Once hot, add the onion and cook until just beginning to soften, about 3 minutes. Then, add the minced garlic and cook, stirring another 2 minutes. Add the chipotles and adobo sauce (start with a little, and add more if you're braver than me), oregano and continue stirring for one more minute.

    Increase the heat to medium-high, add the quinoa and continue to cook, stirring frequently for 3-5 minutes. Add the beans, corn, stock and some salt and pepper (start with about 1/4-1/2 teaspoon of each, you can add more just before serving it, if necessary) and bring to a boil. Stir, cover and reduce heat to low. Simmer, covered for 15 minutes.

    Uncover the pot after 15 minutes and test the quinoa for doneness (if the quinoa is still crunchy, make sure there is enough liquid to keep the bottom of the pot moist, cover and cook an additional 5 minutes or so). Once cooked, taste and adjust the salt and pepper, as necessary.

    Serve warm, room temperature or chilled, topped with the green onion and lime wedges on the side.
    ~~~~

    I'd never even thought about having it for breakfast! But am so gonna try some of the great ideas. =)

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    1. Wow those sound great Nichole! Will definitely have to try both! Thanks so much for sharing :)

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  21. I heard once that you shouldn't eat too much Quinoa because it is a very high source of protein and you only need a little bit. I am a carb craver and it would replace rice and pasta for me but I don't want to over do it if I shouldn't ... do you know much about this?

    I appreciate your feedback!

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    1. Hi JoAnne! Thanks for stopping by. I've never heard of that before. Do you recall where you heard that info? In my personal (non-professional) opinion, I think it would take a LOT to overdo it. If it was me, I'd feel comfortable replacing pasta and rice with it most of the time. Everything in moderation as they say! You may be interested in reading The China Study by Dr. Colin Campbell - it's a huge study on nutrition and discusses animal vs. plant protein sources. A fantastic read if you get the chance!

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  22. I used to prepare a lot of rice, white, brown and sometimes some red and black with fish, pork, meatballs etc. and salad... Until one day I bought the Quinoa and try to substitute the rice with it... The kids (4, 5 and 7) examine it (a lot) and after eating a bit said "this rice taste funny", they didn't know if they like it... but I've been insisting, the portions are smaller than use to be so if they left if not that much... but know I use much less rice and I've been able to introduce quinoa more... I try it once with veggies and wasn't a success, so for now I give it to them alone... For me I looove it and use it in all kind of salads! :)

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    1. That's great Akira! I find quinoa to be a wonderful substitute for rice as well. Maybe your kids will warm up to it even more in time :) I agree with you - I love it in everything, especially salads! Thanks for stopping by, take care!

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  23. http://www.care2.com/causes/global-demand-for-quinoa.html

    In case you weren't aware.

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  24. does the red or tri-color taste different?

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    1. To me, red and black quinoa have a bit more of an earthy, nutty taste but it's a subtle difference

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  25. So many great ideas here, I have just started to eat quinoa and I'm so glad I've found some new ways of using it. The burritos and stuffed peppers look delicious, I will definitely be giving them a go and trying to convince my toddler to warm up to it too. Thank you!

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    1. Hi Haley! Thanks, hope you love the stuffed peppers and burritos! Sending good vibes for your little one to love it too :) Good luck - let me know how it goes if you get the chance!

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  26. I can't begin to thank you for this page. We recently discovered quinoa and found it to be a tasty treat. Thanks for the recipes and the helpful hints!

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    1. Hi Ann! You are very welcome. Glad to hear you've discovered quinoa and are enjoying it. I hope you love the recipes! Take care :)

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  27. It is wonderful for breakfast with a little cinnamon, nutmeg, vanilla and almond milk. No sugar needed. When cooking make sure to rinse it really well - swish it around with your hands until the water drains clear. I make a huge batch and freeze it in 1 cup portions. Love Quinoa!!

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    1. Hi Tena! Your breakfast quinoa sounds phenomenal!! A must try. I've heard of people freezing it but have yet to try that myself - that would make it even more convenient. Awesome!

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    2. I do the same but add dried fruit.!

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  28. After reading all the comments, I think I am going to have to try quinoa for breakfast. My favorite quinoa recipe so far has been a nice light summer dish: quinoa with corn and scallions served with a very light honey lemon vinaigrette. SO GOOD!!!

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    1. Hi Charisse! Quinoa is definitely fabulous any meal of the day :) And that recipe sounds SO amazing - I must give that a go soon! Thanks!

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  29. My family and I love Quinoa! It is great with black beans, cumin, cilantro and frozen corn! Great 1 pot dish and with the black beans it is a complete meal.

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    1. Completely agree! We had something very similar to this (+ tomatoes) for dinner last night. Always a fantastic, easy meal! Thanks for sharing :)

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  30. For breakfast, I mix it a heaping tbsp of coco powder, stevia, almond milk, and a mashed banana for a delish chocolate dessert-like breakfast:)

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    1. WHOA can I come to your house for breakfast!?! That sounds amazing. I love the sound of a chocolate-banana combo! Thanks for sharing :)

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  31. I live in St. Cloud, MN. I found a small box of Quinoa at Walmart but it was so expensive. Then I went to one of the grocery stores here and I found Quinoa in the Bulk Foods section. I am able to buy whatever quantity I want. I am so happy I found it there.....and it is much cheaper. Maybe your other readers could find it in a Bulk Foods section of their grocery stores. I love Quinoa. My sister-in-law introduced me to it one time when I was visiting she and my brother.

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    1. Hi Barbara - what a helpful tip! Thanks so much for coming back and sharing. Enjoy your quinoa! :)

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  32. I love all the recipes you shared, as well as the ones in the comments! Such great ideas. I cook the red in coconut milk (carton, not can), then top it with toasted nuts and agave. supposed to be a breakfast dish, but satisfies for dessert too!

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    1. Hi! So many amazing ideas in the comments, aren't there? I LOVE hearing them all. Yours is no exception - sounds easy and fantastic! :)

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  33. Our last batch had bits of pancetta, red peppers, tomatoes, herbs. You can really throw in anything you want. If you chop it small the kids don't really notice it. It's an easy recipe, and good for the family. I also rinse mine first as this poster suggested.
    lawnz.org.uk

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    1. Hi Joshef! That's the great thing about quinoa dishes, isn't it? They're so versatile! Just about anything works :) Thanks for sharing.

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  34. Do you have any ideas for using this in a breakfast dish?

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    1. Hi! Some people in the comments above have mentioned how they love it for breakfast. You can eat it like oatmeal, or try different combinations with bananas, berries, cinnamon, vanilla, honey, soymilk/almond milk, etc. So many yummy options! Would love to hear your favorite combo if you try it! Enjoy :)

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  35. I love to throw some broccoli florets in the water with the quinoa. That way, even though the broccoli is right in the water, I still get all the nutrients and everything cause the quinoa soaks it up. Then, I melt a little butter into it and spinkle with a little feta. Whoo, that's good!

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    1. PERFECT Linda! I love the idea of cooking broccoli with the quinoa. Easy and only one dish to clean! And you can never go wrong with feta ;) Thanks for sharing!

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  36. I am wondering if I could cook the Quinoa then freeze to make dinner prep faster in the evenings.

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    1. Definitely Christy! That's a great idea, and a fantastic way to save a little time through those hectic evenings :)

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  37. I haven't tried quinoa on its own yet, but I LOVE mixing it in with my pastas and meats (when I make homemade chicken nuggets and meatballs).

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    1. It's definitely a great mixer! Give it a try as the main event - I bet you'll love it!! :)

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  38. This is a little late but my absolute favourite way is cooking it with one part freshly squeezed orange juice to one part water and then adding mandarin orange segments and toasted almonds when it's cooked. It's delicious with chicken!

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    1. Not late at all! I love reading all the comments :) I've never tried orange quinoa before - sounds amazing!! Thanks so much for sharing!

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  39. That looks so good. I wish I could reach into my computer screen and eat it! Thanks for sharing such great recipes!

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  40. We make the quinoa and then add some cream, brown sugar and blueberries. My 2 year old gobbles it all up !!!!

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    1. Hi! Oh I LOVE the addition of blueberries. What a perfect summer treat!! Thanks for sharing!

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  41. For breakfast I add milk, honey and walnuts to the Quinoa. Also make a salad of Quinoa, apples, grapes, plus cucumbers, orange bell peppers and celery with a sweet & sour dressing. YUM !

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    1. Awesome ideas! Love the simple, healthy breakfast and salad with both fruits and veggies!! Thanks for the message!

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