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From Our Pantry: Quinoa

This January, we are focusing on stocking your pantry for healthier meals and a healthier budget.

If you haven’t entered to Win Pantry Staples for a Year, head over to that blog post now and then come right back. When you pick up the items on our $50 Pantry Stock Up list (see below), you’ll be ready to add a few fresh ingredients, herbs and spices to be able to cook 14 of our favorite recipes.

We’ll feature all of these recipes individually in these “From Our Pantry” posts throughout this month. This time we’re talking quinoa. (You can see our earlier posts on Oats, Soup, Chili and Stew and Brown Rice.

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has all the goodness of whole grains — the B vitamins, the fiber, the minerals — and it’s actually a small dried seed that’s been cultivated for thousands of years in South America. This little powerhouse has the highest protein content of any other grain. And since it contains all eight essential amino acids, quinoa is considered a complete protein.

Quinoa’s light and fluffy in texture but has that whole grain ability to fill people up. It’s so versatile it can be substituted for rice, pasta, couscous, bulgur or millet in just about any recipe. And it’s gluten free – excellent news for anyone with a gluten allergy or sensitivity.

First things first, you need to learn how simple and quick it is to cook quinoa. Here’s our step by step instructional recipe called Learn to Cook: Quinoa.

Whether you choose brown, red or black quinoa, cooking is similar. Now that you’ve got the basics down, try these:

Zesty Quinoa with Broccoli and Cashews

Serve this side dish alongside baked tofu chunks or your favorite lean protein.

In addition to your pantry staples of quinoa, sundried tomatoes and vegetable broth, you’ll add broccoli (frozen will work), lemon juice, onions, cashews and a bit of wine for a carnival of flavors and textures.

Beef and Quinoa Meatballs

Sneak whole grains and veggies into crowd-pleasing meatballs with this easy recipe that will stretch your food dollar, too.

You’ll add ground beef, chopped veggies and seasonings to your cooked quinoa.

Serve with your favorite pasta and marinara sauce or on a hoagie with cheese for a dynamite meatball sub sandwich.

Here’s the complete Pantry Stock Up List (download the pdf) that gives you all the pantry ingredients needed for these three recipes and 11 more.

  • 1 lb black beans
  • 1 lb lentils
  • 1 lb quinoa
  • 2 lbs brown rice
  • 3 (32-oz) boxes vegetable broth
  • 1 (32-oz) box chicken broth
  • 1 lb rolled oats
  • 2 cans cannellini beans
  • 1 can black beans
  • 1 lb orechiette pasta
  • 1 lb pasta, your favorite kind
  • 1 jar unsweetened applesauce
  • 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened soymilk
  • 1 (32-oz) box unsweetened almondmilk
  • 1 (5-oz) can tuna
  • 3 (15-oz) cans diced tomatoes
  • 1 package no-oil sundried tomatoes
  • 1 jar pasta sauce

We priced these in our 365 Everyday Value® line and the list came in around $50. We encourage you to visit our bulk department and keep an eye out for sales for even more value. Do you have a favorite recipe using quinoa that comes together easily with help from a well-stocked pantry?

Please share in the comments.