I’m sure you knew this one was coming — you’ve only seen the confetti-like pearly grains (that are technically not grains, but it’s just so weird to say confetti-like pearly chenopods) accessorizing my dinner plates for the last three months. All I have to say is this: Once you’ve tried quinoa, you will forever question your couscous and rice habit — well, I guess I can’t speak for you, but those were the two default starches on the dinner plate that I was raised with. Quinoa is a complete protein (which is why it’s so popular among vegetarians), it’s gluten-free (ditto parents of children with wheat allergies) and so freaking delicious (ditto people who like freaking delicious things).
You know that rule about how you have to put something new in front of the kids 25 times before they try it? Well, if that is indeed the case, we are about a month overdue for the under-four-feeters to swallow a solid forkful of quinoa. I’m not exaggerating — they’ve seen us spoon up a side of it pretty much every other night all spring long.
My friend and Time for Dinner co-author Pilar makes a vat of quinoa on Sunday so all week long it’s ready to be mixed into salads or heaped on her sons’ plates. (Supermom alert.) The few times I’ve followed her lead, this has been a boon for quick lunches, when I can toss in cooked vegetables (asparagus, broccoli), nuts (walnuts, slivered almonds), cheese (feta, goat) and dried fruit (cherries, pomegranates) with a basic vinaigrette.
- But the dish above, Quinoa with Spinach and a Fried Egg, is the dish that really kicked my love for quinoa to Friday Night Lights-levels of obsession. It took less time to make this meal (that I would have paid $20 for in a restaurant) than to heat up a frozen Trader Joe’s pizza. And yes, it’s true that this comparison falls slightly flat since my kids will actually eat a Trader Joe’s pizza. But you might have better luck than me.
- Basic Quinoa Instructions