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Sunday, November 28, 2021

Quinoa, the grain of grains!

When I first came to college, I didn’t know what quinoa was. I vaguely suspected it was some kind of exotic vegetable, and I was intimidated by the thought of adding it to my lowly cooking arsenal. Although I couldn’t have been more wrong about what type of food quinoa is, I have since discovered the wonders of the grain, especially as a way to spice up otherwise boring late-night college cooking sessions.

This grain has been growing wildly in popularity over the past decade and for good reason. Healthy and extremely versatile, quinoa can be a fun ingredient to add to any meal. Here a few ways to hop on the quinoa-craze bandwagon, if only because sometimes the bandwagon sure tastes delicious!

1. Chicken and not pasta

Sautéed or baked Chicken with pasta is a stable college dinner, but eating so much of it all the time can be a little monotonous. Using quinoa instead of spaghetti makes your whole eating experiences way cooler. For added flavor and a splash of color, add in sautéed tomatoes (adding tomatoes to anything always makes it better) or asparagus.

2. Stuff your peppers

Baked and stuffed peppers is a favorite recipe that my mom makes, although attempting it in dorm kitchen is a little bit more of an undertaking I’m sure. However by hollowing out a ripe red pepper and filling it with a concoction of quinoa, cheese, beans and corn, you can make something surprisingly easy and very yummy. It’s a bit more time consuming as the peppers take about half an hour to bake, but well worth the effort.

3. The guac just got better

Guacamole is perhaps the most amazing thing ever, and it might sound odd, but mixing some quinoa into your guac next time you’re planning some party dip is a great idea. Quinoa makes gives your chip dip some exciting texture. Here is another hint: chopped mango is an excellent edition to any guacamole recipe.

4. Quinoa salad makes salad fun

Last year, I ate a huge amount of salad. I ate so much salad that I got inordinately sick of them for a long time. I’m slowly getting back into them now, and quinoa has helped to renew my love. Adding quinoa to a salad lessens the sometimes annoying crunch of lettuce or spinach, and it gives your salad a tasty twist. Adding avocado — another power-food of today’s foodie industry — to make your salad even more exciting.

5. Taco Tuesday? You mean Lettuce-Wrap Tuesday

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It’s easy to get tired of tacos, but they are an easy solution on a late night when you want food now. Change up your tacos by making them lettuce wraps instead, and replace your meat with some quinoa, beans and diced tomatoes! Quinoa lettuce-wrap tacos make for a more exciting meal than regular ones, and are extremely healthy!

Have fun with these quinoa concoctions, and don’t be afraid to create your own!

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