Book Review: 500 Best Quinoa Recipes

500 Best Quinoa Recipes500 Best Quinoa Recipes

Author: Camilla V. Saulsbury
Publisher: Robert Rose Inc.
Book Publication: 2012

I can still recall the first time I heard the word “quinoa.” A few years ago, a friend kindly brought over salad for our dinner together and I was, as always, interested in what he had found to entertain us with. He presented the salad and said in a hushed tone that it was quinoa, an ancient grain from the Americas. Always game for a new flavour, I sampled the salad and swooned with delight. The leftover quinoa salad was devoured for breakfast the next day. Since then, I’ve been hooked on quinoa. (I also have played quinoa a couple of times in Scrabble.)

Today, quinoa is hailed as a superfood as it has a near-perfect balance of protein, carbohydrates, and dietary fibre, it’s rich in vitamins and minerals, as well as having all the essential amino acids, and it’s gluten-free, which is great for those with celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity.

Quinoa is a good alternative to couscous and rice, and can be prepared in a similar manner to rice, which means it’s very easy to prepare, but it can also be served as flour, toasted, flaked or in pasta. In addition, its slightly nutty flavour doesn’t overpower the other flavours in a dish.

The year 2013 has been declared the International Year of Quinoa by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization as the pseudocereal is a worthy food alternative, has high crop yields, and is very resistant to frost. And, if this wasn’t enough, NASA is considering quinoa as a possible crop for long-duration space flights.

You, however, can purchase quinoa at your local grocery store as the popularity of the food has grown recently and it’s no longer difficult to track down.

With that in mind, one might want to get one’s hands on the hefty cookbook, 500 Best Quinoa Recipes, which shows you how to bring the tasty seed to your table from the first meal of the day to your evening treat. Author Camilla V. Saulsbury has let her imagination run wild with this recipe collection, incorporating quinoa into everything from Multigrain Pancake and Waffle Mix for breakfast to a Raspberry Vanilla Quinoa Shake as a mid-morning snack, Spicy Maple Pumpkin Soup for lunch, then Shrimp Quinoa with Fennel and Orange for dinner with Lager Quinoa Bread for dessert.

500 Best Quinoa Recipes offers more than 60 vegetarian main dishes featuring quinoa, and almost as many for seafood, poultry, and lean meat. However, for those seeking lots of quinoa pasta recipes, this cookbook is not the collection for you. As Saulsbury says in her introduction, quinoa pasta is so straight forward, simply use it in place of traditional pasta.

If you or someone you are cooking for has a gluten allergy or sensitivity, the recipes in 500 Best Quinoa Recipes feature a “GF, in needed” note to remind readers that they will need to pay attention when shopping for the recipe and purchase gluten-free versions of those ingredients.

Many of the recipes in 500 Best Quinoa Recipes also feature tips, such as ingredient substitutions or serving suggestions, and storage tips.

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Victoria Moorshead is an editor and writer, and a former staff member of Vitality Magazine.

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