Quinoa pronounced "kin-wah" is a an amazing grain that should be on your menu the next time you head out on a trip. Let's face it, oatmeal can be good at times with some fresh fruit or nuts, but it gets boring. Quinoa can replace your oatmeal once in a while and make your breakfasts a little more interesting again, or even become a savory dish for dinner. Some benefits of quinoa are that it is a "complete grain" and has a protein content that is very high, around 12%–18%! It is becoming very popular for vegetarians and vegans recently and it is easy to see why. Quinoa contains essential amino acids for humans, it is a good source of fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is also gluten-free to add to the perks. Quinoa originated in South America where it was a sacred crop for the Incan civilization.
Quinoa is typically cooked like rice with a 2 to 1 water to grain ratio and simmered quite a while till soft. When we are in the backcountry simmering can use up valuable fuel and time. To adapt to this, we need to soak the quinoa to reduce the cooking time. If you are going to be eating your quinoa for breakfast and you're already at camp, put your 2 to 1 mixture of water and quinoa in a pot and cover and soak all night while you are sleeping. However, if you are not at camp yet or want to have quinoa for dinner, I recommend using a water bottle with the mixture so it can be soaked in advance and transported with you neatly. This technique also will work if you are in freezing conditions because you can keep your quinoa water bottle soaker in your bag to thwart freezing.
One cup dried quinoa Makes 2 1/2 to 3 cups cooked quinoa
1.While your at home rinse your quinoa off before you pack it into a ziplock or your water bottle soaker.
2. After soaking overnight or all day, strain out the soaking water at camp. Place the drained quinoa in a saucepan, add 1 cup fresh water, a pinch of salt and a tablespoon of oil, bring to a boil, cover and reduce the heat and simmer until the liquid is absorbed. Allow to steam, covered, for about 5 minutes or until it can be fluffed with a fork. Then serve.
Add 1/4 cup of dried or fresh fruit of your choice while cooking
Use a small amount of maple syrup, brown sugar, or honey to sweeten (your call)
Dash of cinnamon
Couple tablespoons of nuts
Blackberries, pecans and honey is a great combo!
Dinner Variation- Curry Chicken Quinoa
Add one package of Chicken in a pouch (found near tuna in the grocery store)
teaspoon of curry powder
pinch of garlic powder
chopped onion and pepper are great if possible to pack in and use, if not try adding some dried chopped onions and some dried pepper flakes
any veggie you can find dried would work well in this too just add in the beginning so it reconstitutes
dried cranberries can be good in this as well!