Mexican Quinoa Bake

{keen-wah}

quinoabakeNSD

I am assuming by now everyone has heard of quinoa.  It’s the new black of the grain world, even though some others are trying to stomp it out (barley, bulgur etc…)  I can’t really remember when I first tried it, but I know I liked it.  I mean, it really doesn’t taste like anything.  The little granules have a nice little crunch to them, but not that “ew this is a raw piece of rice” crunch.  They also allow sauces and spices to adhere well to the pieces therefore taking on great flavor.

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So like I said you probably heard the name quinoa, but do you know how great it is for your health?  No?  Well read on for some fun facts about the grain.

+  Did you know the grain is from the GOOSEFOOT species?

+  Quinoa is actually a seed.

+  The food  has earned it spot on the prestigious SuperFood list.

+  It is a great source of protein, containing all 9 essential amino acids

+  Gluten allergy? No worries here, quinoa in gluten-free.

When it comes to grains, I typically am grabbing the couscous off the shelves at the store.  Lately, I try to avoid carbs so rices and pastas haven’t made an appearance on my dinner plate.  However, after religiously documenting my food intake with My Fitness Pal I noticed my daily fiber being rather low.  After reading some articles, I decided that quinoa would be the best grain to add to my diet – high in fiber (keep me full longer), high in protein, and lower in calories.

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So be prepared to see the good old quinoa around this blog here often in upcoming posts.  First on the menu, Mexican Quinoa Bake.  Hearty enough for a meal or satisfying as a side dish served with tacos (leave out the black beans).  This casserole has a bit of a heated punch to it, but not too powerful. The quinoa absorbs the flavors and gives tremendous texture.

Mexican quinoa bake

Recipe By:  Sara
Servings:  6-8 [depending on entrée or side]   ///   Prep Time:  5 minutes   ///   Cook Time:  30 minutes

Ingredients:
1 cup dry quinoa
1 can Southwestern style dice tomatoes
2 Tbsp taco seasoning or 1 packet
1 small can of diced green chilis
1 cup frozen corn
4 oz shredded sharp cheddar cheese + 1/4 cup for topping
1/4 cup cilantro, chopped
1 can black beans, drained [optional]
sour cream, hot sauce

Directions:
1.  Bring 2 cups of water to a boil.  Add the quinoa and stir to combine.
2.  Reduce heat to a low simmer and cook covered for about 15-20 minutes or until the water is absorbed.
3.  In a casserole dish, combine the diced tomatoes, chilis, seasoning, corn, 4 oz. cheddar and beans if using.
4.  Add the cooked quinoa and cilantro, stirring everything together.
5.  Top with more shredded cheddar and a bit of the cilantro.
6.  Bake at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes.
7.  Put on broiler and let cheese brown for about 30 seconds.
8.  Serve with a dollop of sour cream or hot sauce.

IMG_3857Enjoy!

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