Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A tasty alternative to rice and pasta

Fluffy organic quinoa and diced tomatoes go beautifully with spice-covered fish.

I don't remember whether I was looking for more Kirkland Signature Saigon Ground Cinnamon or Organic Tomato Sauce when I came upon a 4-pound bag of Nature's Earthly Choice Organic Quinoa at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack.

I've seen whole-grain quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) in supermarkets, but not at Costco, so I finally decided to try it as an alternative to the brown rice and whole-wheat pasta I prepare at home.

It was a snap to make in an electric rice cooker: 

2 cups of the gluten-free, wheat-free seed; 4 cups of Kirkland Signature Organic Chicken Stock and a 14.5-ounce can of Kirkland Signature Organic Diced Tomatoes. 

I paired it with Costco's fresh, wild-caught cod fillets, which I coated in a homemade Super Spice Mixture and roasted in the oven for about 20 minutes.

The quinoa, which fluffed up in the rice cooker, had a pleasant nutty taste.

Hot cereal with quinoa and a banana.

This morning, I brought 4 cups of water to a boil and added cereal, oatmeal and quinoa, cooking them over low heat for 10 minutes.

The hot, flowing cereal included 1 cup of Bob's Red Mill 10-Grain Cereal, a half-cup of The Silver Palate Thick & Rough Oatmeal, a half-cup of quinoa, Goji Berries, Kirkland Signature Dried Cherries (with sugar and sunflower oil added), pine nuts and organic Blue Agave sweetener.

I wanted to use frozen wild blueberries instead of the tart cherries, but they had been in the freezer since before Superstorm Sandy, when I lost electricity for five days, and I decided to throw them out. 

A wild lox-and-cheese omelet with leftover quinoa, mashed squash and brown rice.

The 4-pound package of quinoa was $7.99 at Costco, and labeled "Product of Bolivia."

According to the package, "Quinoa, praised for its excellent nutritional profile, is an exceptional source of protein, containing eight amino acids, making quinoa an excellent option for people looking to reduce their consumption of meat."

This organic quinoa is pre-washed, so there's no need to soak or rinse it before cooking.

A quarter-cup serving of quinoa (2 ounces) has about the same amount of calories (155) as organic long-grain brown rice (150), but fewer carbohydrates (29 grams for quinoa v. 35 grams for Lundberg brown rice).

A quarter-cup serving of Colavita Whole Wheat Spaghetti has 200 calories and 42g of carbohydrates.

Lundberg brown rice has 3g of protein in a quarter-cup, compared to 6g of protein for quinoa and 7g for the whole-wheat pasta. 


The display at Costco Wholesale in Hackensack.

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