Though often called a grain, quinoa is not a member of the true grass family like oats and wheat. Actually, the edible portion of this quaintly spelled little bugger is more closely related to spinach and beet root and best described as a seed. As such it is gluten free and high in protein.
Found in the mountains of Bolivia and elsewhere, this healthy chenopod happens to be quite the nutrient source, high as it is in minerals, amino acids, and B vitamins. Quinoa is also a worthy source of dietary fiber and B vitamins, including folate.
This winter, when you want warm yummy comfort food, make a meal around quinoa. By using just 3 additional ingredients (I've chosen dehydrated shiitake mushrooms, garbanzo beans, and broccoli, but feel free to choose any other legume/green combination) you get a nutritional powerhouse that will feed you and your loved ones for at least a couple days to come.
Grab the biggest pot you can find. On a stove top, add 5 cups water to 2 cups quinoa. Bring to a boil. Then, add 3 oz shiitake slices (make sure to rinse first), reduce heat and let simmer partially covered for 10 minutes. Then, add 3 cups of broccoli, and simmer an additional 5-7 minutes. Finally, mix in 3 cups garbanzo beans and season to taste. I like to add olives and nutritional yeast. For raw/semiraw foodists, quinoa can be soaked in water for a couple hours to soften and increase nutritional value. This is a way around cooking.
Either way, cooked or raw, this quinoa-centric dish serves six. Each serving contains around 400 calories and provides 25% or more of the daily requirement for 14 nutrients. I'd show you a picture but I've already eaten it all! Here's a pie graph, an inferior replacement but something is better than nothing. Enjoy!