Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has risen to superstar fame in recent years. It’s a gluten-free, high-protein, high-fiber, quick-cooking whole grain with a nutty flavor and a fun pop between the teeth when cooked. You’ll find beige, red, black, or tricolor quinoa in stores; they all taste the same, so use whichever color you prefer. Because quinoa has a bitter-flavored natural coating, it’s always a good idea to rinse it before cooking. Quinoa is great for pilafs, salads, soups, casseroles, and more. Find 31 great recipes for cooking with this ancient grain here.
Spicy Bean and Quinoa Salad with "Mole" Vinaigrette
The components of a classic mole sauce—sweet spices, chile heat, and dark chocolate—create a delicious vinaigrette for this whole-grain salad. Pepitas (hulled pumpkin seeds) work great with the Mexican-inspired flavors, but you can use any crunchy nut you like; we’d suggest sliced toasted almonds or roasted pistachios. There’s plenty of protein, plus a hefty serving size, to make this a main-dish salad, but you can also serve smaller portions as a side or starter salad. For a little extra richness, sprinkle with crumbled queso fresco or Cotija cheese, and for a bigger protein hit, top the salad with sliced grilled flank steak.