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Quinoa (Recipe: quinoa pudding) {vegetarian}



That's how you say it — keen wah. Whew. First hurdle conquered!

When a reader recently invited me to teach a class on gluten-free cooking, I remembered that I hadn't yet written about the quinoa (keen wah) that's become a staple in The Perfect Pantry. One of the ancient grains (along with spelt, amaranth, millet and teff), gluten-free quinoa is enjoying its fifteen minutes of fame, and there are many good reasons why we should hope its fame lasts longer.

Though it sounds like a stir-fry dish on a Chinese restaurant menu, quinoa actually hails from the mountainous Andean regions of South America; since 1978, it has been cultivated in Colorado as well. Grown primarily for its edible seed, quinoa is not really a grain; it's a green, from the same family of leafy greens (goosefoot) as spinach and Swiss chard. The quinoa seed, which is the part we eat, has a mild, somewhat nutty taste and texture, more substantial than couscous; when cooked, it acts like rice and tastes like barley.

If beauty sometimes equals fame, then this is one beautiful superfood poised for stardom. Quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids, making it a "complete" protein without the need to combine it with other grains or legumes or meats. High in antioxidants, fiber, and minerals, quinoa provides a wide range of health benefits, including helping to lower cholesterol and blood pressure, and prevent migraines.

Cook quinoa as you would cook rice, adding two parts liquid to one part grain. I am a lazy rice maker who prefers to use a rice cooker, and the quinoa works oh-so-nicely in my automatic rice cooking device. Marry it with vegetables, turn it into a pilaf, make a spicy Mexican salad or a lovely rice pudding.

Quinoa is increasingly easy to find in my local supermarket, often in the rice and couscous aisle. And now you know how to ask for it. Keen wah!

Quinoa pudding

From Raymond Sokolov's Against the Grain, this rich pudding adapts well to the inclusion of pretty much anything you can imagine: dried apricots, walnuts or slivered almonds, or how about small chunks of peanut brittle? Serves 4-6.


3/4 cup raw quinoa, well rinsed
4 cups milk (skim milk, heavy cream, or anything in between)
Pinch of salt
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 tsp vanilla or almond extract
3/4 cup raisins or chopped dates
Grated nutmeg or cinnamon


Preheat oven to 300°F. Stir together the quinoa, milk, salt and sugar in a greased 6-cup soufflé or other ovenproof dish. Set in the oven and bake for 2 hours, stirring occasionally to work the "hide" that collects on the top of the pudding back into the rest of the dish. Stir in the vanilla or almond extract and raisins or dates. Return to the oven for 30 minutes. Sprinkle with nutmeg or cinnamon. Serve lukewarm or cold.

[Printer-friendly recipe.]

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Glad you are feeling better!

i love quinoa! one of my favorite ways to use it is in a casserole with ground turkey, butternuts squash, mushrooms, and onions. it is really fantastic.

Hooray, so glad your feeling better.
I used quinoa a few times years ago and just didn't keep it around I guess. The peanut brittle idea in this sounds intriguing.

great to have you back, I´m glad you´re well. and thanks, I´ve often wondered about the pronounciation. sounds just the same in Spanish

I haven't tried quinoa yet, Lydia, but I'm willing to - and I'm more than happy to have you back!

Wow! I've recently become a huge fan of quinoa, and have been prospecting for all sorts of recipes. I was actually planning to make it tonight -- I have an "Inca Red" type that looks beautiful on the plate!

Wonderful that you are back! Quinoa's great stuff. I like it in tabbouleh in place of the bulgur.

Lydia good to see you back! The Pantry has been empty without you. Love KEEEn -wha and have been interested in sweets using it.

Great to see you back! Love Quinoa and this sweet twist is inspired!

How odd [new visitor] I'm in a state of recovery also and dug out a battered Trader Joe's Quinoa and shrimp dish that's been skulling around the back of the freezer for far too long. It was delicious. Now you've inspired me to make my own.
Best wishes

Kalyn, thank you.

Stacy, your casserole sounds fantastic. Have you posted the recipe? If so, please share the link.

Tanna, glad to be back! I love the combination of rice pudding with something crunchy for texture, and this is the same idea.

Ximena, thank you. I think they should put the pronounciation on the box, to make it easier for everyone!

Patricia, give it a try. You will love the fresh flavor.

TW, I've heard of the Inca Red but have never seen it. Does it cook up the same way? I'll bet it's gorgeous on the plate.

Susan, thank you so much. I'll have to try quinoa tabbouleh -- sounds delicious.

Callipygia, I've missed everyone, too!

Freya, thank you. I think this dish is really great for rice pudding lovers.

Mcewen, best wishes to you, too. Perhaps there really is something to this "superfood" concept if we're both going for quinoa during recovery! Thanks for visiting The Perfect Pantry; hope to see you here again.

Lovely recipe Lydia. I often cook quinoa with millet and basmati rice in a pilaf with scallions and home-made veggie stock. It's really good.

Glad you're back. See? You didn't need that appendix, did you!

Lydia, glad you are back. :)

Now, the quiona is something new to me. My local organic store sells it, but I haven't tested it out. I have seen salad recipes for it but salad is not my thing. Your recipe for pudding is better for me! :D

one of my favorite shops-always fun things in there-quiona, new to me. Thanks for the info!

So glad you are back and writing again!

Lucy, you're right, I absolutely didn't need that appendix! Your pilaf recipe sounds delicious.

Anh, thanks. If you like rice pudding, you'll probably like this recipe.

Jann, there's always something fun at Trader Joe's, isn't there? I love exploring there.

Christine, thank you so much.

Hi Lydia!
I tasted Quinoa before, it tastes a bit like couscous right? except that it's slightly 'fatter'. Ouuuhhh, your pudding sounds soo good. Simple but delicious!

I just discovered quinoa this winter as well. I love it! Now I can work on some summer salads with it. Never thought of a pud - sounds good.
Glad you're back on form!

Valentina, it does taste a bit like a couscous that's been crossbred with barley -- a bit nutty and chewy, great texture.

Katie, I like Susan's idea (see above) to make a quinoa tabbouleh -- perfect with parsley from the herb garden!

Quinoa pointers: It cooks in about 15 minutes, so it's a great whole food for a meal you want ready soon. When I first made it, I was a bit unnerved by the "tails" which I understand are from the germ -- now I think they are cute. Lydia, just found you...great blog!

Susan, welcome to The Perfect Pantry, and thanks so much for sharing your quinoa pointers. I've gotten some great ideas from readers about how to use this wonderful ingredient.

Everyone: Pantry reader TW Barritt of Culinary Types (http://culinarytypes.blogspot.com/) sent along this link to the Inca Red quinoa: http://www.quinoa.net/Inca_Red/inca_red.html. There's a beautiful photo of the quinoa plant!

Can you replace regular milk by using rice milk?

Val, I don't see why not!

love your blog which I found looking for quinoa recipes .
I look forward to continue hearing from you.

I think I did something wrong - I just made the quinoa pudding recipe and it is like soup. I thought it would be thicker, more like a pudding. Any suggestions? Thanks.

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