Quinoa is native to Bolivia and is a relative of Swiss chard, spinach and beets, and comes in three varieties (whole grain white, red and black. Quinoa is a complete protein, which means it provides all nine essential amino acids necessary for good health. With its mild flavor, light crunch and impressive protein content, quinoa is the perfect gluten-free substitute for pasta, rice or couscous. It’s also frequently milled into gluten-free flour that can be used in baking, or as the base for gluten-free pastas, cereals and more.
Sauteeing quinoa in olive oil gives it a toasted flavor and slightly crispy texture. Add kale and a dusting of grated cheese and you've got a healthy, flavorful side dish or main course.
Use any type of cheese you like to finish this quinoa and kale recipe. Some to try are Manchego, Parmigiano-Reggiano or Gruyere.
Another crispy quinoa recipe to try: Crispy Quinoa & Sweet Potato Slaw
- 1 bunch of kale (thick bottom part of the stem removed)
- 1 cup quinoa (uncooked)
- 2 teaspoons cumin
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 2 cloves of garlic (finely chopped)
- 2 eggs (whisked)
- 9 tablespoons of olive oil
- 1/2 - 1 cup of grated cheese
- Quinoa has a natural coating, called saponin, that can make the cooked grain taste bitter or soapy. Luckily, it's easy to get rid of this coating just by rinsing the quinoa just before cooking. Boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, but it doesn't hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse at home.
- Bring 3 cups of water to a boil. Add kale leaves and boil for 3 minutes. Keep the water boiling on the stove but remove the kale and chop it into thin strips.
- Add the quinoa to the boiling water. Turn the heat down to low and simmer the quinoa with a lid for 15 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is soft but chewy. Each grain will look like it has popped open.
- Mix the kale, cumin, cinnamon, garlic and eggs in with the quinoa.
- Heat 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a skillet over high heat. When the oil is sizzling, add 1/3 of the quinoa mixture and smooth it out evenly in the skillet. Let it cook for 3 minutes without stirring so the bottom becomes brown and crispy. Stir once then saute for another 3-5 minutes. Remove from the pan.
- Heat another 3 tablespoons of oil in the skillet until sizzling. Add half of the remaining quinoa mixture and again let it cook for 3 minutes without stirring so the bottom becomes brown and crispy. Stir once then saute for another 3-5 minutes. Repeat this whole process with the last batch of quinoa. (Cooking the quinoa in three small batches helps the quinoa to brown and become crispy).
- Combine the cooked quinoa in one bowl and grate cheese on top. Serve warm or at room temperature.