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Garlic & Jalapeņo Quinoa

Posted on October 21, 2012.


Quinoa (pronounced ken-wɑ) is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. Quinoa grains are in general cooked the same way as rice and can be used in a wide range of dishes. Itīs not actually a grain since itīs not a member of the true grass family. Quinoa is a flowering plant closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds.

Quinoa originated in the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, where it has been a staple of the local diet for at least 4,000 years. The Incas, who held the crop to be sacred,referred to quinoa as chisaya mama or īmother of all grainsī, and it was the Inca emperor who would traditionally sow the first seeds of the season using īgolden implements.

Quinoa has tremendous nutritional value, with a very high protein content (14% by mass), and itīs a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also a source of calcium, and thus is useful for vegans and those who are lactose intolerant. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest.

Quinoa cooked by itself has an almost nutty flavor and is similar in texture to couscous. I prefer to cook quinoa with a variety of flavors that pair with the main course that I plan to serve with it. This particular version was created as a side dish for my Jalapeņo Honey Glazed Lamb Chops (see recipe).


1 cup quinoa grains
1/4 cup onions, diced
1 jalapeņo, diced
3 cloves garlic minced
1 tablespoon fresh cilantro, minced
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cups chicken broth
Salt and pepper to taste


In a pre-heated pot on medium to high heat, add the olive oil and cook onions until translucent (about 3-5 minutes).  

Add jalapeños and garlic and cook for 3-5 minutes more.  

Mix in 1/4 cup chicken broth, salt and pepper and let completely cook down (about 4 minutes), then add the quinoa and remaining chicken broth.  

Bring to boil, then cover and reduce heat to simmer and cook on low heat for 20 minutes.

Remove lid , turn off the heat and gently mix in the cilantro. Let stand for 5 minutes and serve.


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Posted By: Chief Foodie Officer