Cherylcan's Blog

Life and Literature

Quinoa… a new favorite

My journey to healthier eating and overall lifestyle has been lots of fun. There are so many great foods out there. One of my new favorites is quinoa. The quinoa plant is native to the Andean regions of Peru, Bolivia and Chile on the continent of South America. The quinoa we eat today has been cultivated in South America for around 5000 years. Archeological evidence suggests that some of the wilder forms of quinoa were also cultivated in this same region as long ago as 9,000 years. Quinoa was dubbed “mother of all grains” by the Incas, so much so that it came to have spiritual significance for them. Many traditions and ceremonies surrounded the cultivation, harvest and consumption of quinoa. My friend loaned me her cookbook (see thumbnail). I modified a couple of my favorite recipes to suit my diet requirements:

Quinoa Squash Soup

Cut 1 medium squash in half. Remove pulp and seeds. Bake squash at 350 F until softened (approx. 45 min). {If time is an issue you can peel and dice squash, and add with carrots to soup}.

Combine 1 onion, 4 medium carrots, 5 cups broth, 4 Tbsp curry powder, 2 cloves minced garlic, and 1 parsnip (used as substitute for potato) in saucepan. Cover and bring to a boil. Reduce heat. Simmer for 1 hour.

About 8 minutes before end of simmering add  ½ cup rinsed quinoa. {NOTE:   Quinoa requires thorough rinsing (3 min.) Run warm water into a pot so the quinoa agitates but does not overflow. Rinse for 3 min. Drain well.}

At end of simmering, remove from heat & let cool slightly. {I left my soup chunky but some may prefer to puree at this point to make lumps disappear.}

Return mixture to saucepan. Add 1/3 cup coconut milk (or 1 cup almond milk), 2 Tbsp chopped fresh cilantro, and pepper and salt to taste. Gently reheat on a medium setting for about 5 minutes. Serve.


Italian Wedding Soup


2 lb         ground turkey

1                     Large egg

2 TBSP   egg whites

10           rice crackers crushed

½             onion chopped small (or ½ cup green onion chopped small)

1 tsp      dried basil

2 tsp      freeze dried chives



10           stock

½ cup    quinoa

5 cups   thinly sliced fresh spinach

Grated lemon zest from one lemon

Optional:             cheese for garnish


To make meatballs, mix turkey, egg, egg whites rice crackers, onion, basil and chives. Shape into 2 cm meatballs.

For soup, bring stock to a boil in a large saucepan. Add rinsed quinoa, reduce to simmer for 8 min. Drop meatballs into boiling stock and gently stir. Bring back to simmer, cover and cook for 5 min. Stir in spinach and lemon zest, cover and cook 5 more minutes.

Serve (with cheese if you can).



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