Quinoa Cookbook

by Sam

I was lucky enough to receive a preview copy of a new Quinoa Cookbook by Wendy Polisi, one of the leading Quinoa experts in the field of yummy Quinoa recipes. Here my thoughts ...

Quinoa, a pseudo cereal, is healthy, no doubt. It is rich in proteins, one of the few complete sources for essential amino acids, abundant in minerals and fiber plus it is gluten-free. All this makes it a favorite with 'health nuts' worldwide. There are a lot of Quinoa cookbooks and recipes around and I have tried a fair few of them! The problem with many is that they taste just a bit too --- healthy ;-) With that I mean, most of these recipes are healthy, good for you etc, but they will not impress guests at a posh dinner party! Here is where 'Quintessential Quinoa' is indeed different! The recipes are not only healthy, they also taste out of this world and the meals prepared with them look stunning!

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What I like

... a long list!

The easy instructions - Even if you have never cooked before with Quinoa, or if you have never cooked a meal from scratch full stop!, the cooking instructions are easy to follow even for newbie cooks.

Variety of recipes - From breakfast (sweet and savory!) to desserts, everything is covered. Here are the different recipe groups: Quinoa Breakfast Recipes, Appetizers, Soups, Salads, Entrees, Side Dishes, Quinoa Pasta, Polenta and Pizza, Breads and Muffins, Desserts. Can't see anything missing, can you?

No specialist equipment needed - Many 'healthy cook books' rely on specialist equipment and rare ingredients. The recipes in this book can be done in an average kitchen. As long as you have a stove, a few pots and some basic kitchen tools like knives and colanders, you can start cooking Quinoa. OK, some recipes call for a food processor, but you can use a hand blender instead, that is what I do.

Nutritional Information - Each recipe comes with nutritional data and tips how to adapt it to a particular diet, like vegan. There is also an extensive chapter about Quinoa itself, again, nutritional information, down to the last minerals and amino acids, is included.

Photos - If you are like me, you need to eat a meal first before you can re-create it in your kitchen or you need to see some good photos in order to make the most out of a recipe. Some people might get along by just following text, I am not one of them ;-) Each recipe in this book is accompanied by several photos that show the finished meal, making it also easy to choose a recipe btw. All photos were taken by Wendy herself, so you get 'real food images' and not 'make-up food images'. The main problem I had was that they look all so damn tasty that I had difficulties to choose one.

Yummy, yummy! - I already tried a few of the recipes and they really make me want to try out more! Not sure if hubby can take more Quinoa meals, he is more a jacket potato guy ;-)

Sun Dried Tomato Hummus

... a great appetizer with fresh bread or bread sticks!
Sun Dried Tomato Hummus
Sun Dried Tomato Hummus
(c) Wendy Polisi

Chili Rellenos Breakfast Casserole

... I love savory for breakfast ;-)
Chili Rellenos Breakfast Casserole
Chili Rellenos Breakfast Casserole
(c) Wendy Polisi

Goat Cheese, Raspberry and Balsamic Walnut Salad

... extremely easy to make and an equally extremely impressive result!
Goat Cheese, Raspberry and Balsamic Walnut Salad
Goat Cheese, Raspberry and Balsamic W...
(c) Wendy Polisi

What I don't like

... a much shorter list.

Only American Measurements - OK, for most of you that will be actually a plus point ;-) But as an European, I am more used to gram and milliliter than to cups! But I also have a huge collection of international cook books, that use all kind of different ways to measure ingredients - so no big deal for me ;-) Here a quick conversion guide:

  • 1 US Cup - 240ml
  • 1 AUS Cup - 250ml
  • 1 UK Cup - 284 ml

and also note that most countries, like NZ, Canada, USA and UK, use 15ml tablespoons, but Australia uses 20ml tablespoons. Always different the Aussies ;-) More information about cooking weights and measures in the Wikipedia article below.

I really tried hard to think, but apart of not providing metric measures, I couldn't come up with anything else I don't like about this Quinoa cook book!

International Cooking Weights and Measures

... for those of us that have too many cook books from too many countries!
In recipes, quantities of ingredients may be specified by mass, by volume, or by count. For most of history, most cookbooks did not specify quantities precisely, instead talking of "a nice leg of spring lamb", a "cupful" of lentils, a piece ...

Summary

No matter if you are new to cooking with Quinoa or an old hand, 'Quintessential Quinoa' will pleasantly surprise you. Also, if you are new to cooking meals from scratch AND want to eat healthy, but yummy food, this book is for you! On the other hand, if are not the type that likes to try out new things and recipes, what are you reading this review for anyway? ;-)

If you are unsure, if you like these kind of recipes, why not hop over to Wendy's website and have a look around for something that appeals to you. There are lots of different Quinoa recipes available - for free!

Copyright Information

Wendy has graciously granted me permission to use some of her images for this article. It is ok to share them, together with a link to this article, or to her website / book. It is not ok to use them on your own website, article or blog without giving credit!

If you have a food or healthy eating related site or blog and are interested in reviewing this great book, I am sure Wendy will be happy to hear from you via her website!

Disclaimer: Yes, I have received a free review copy (pdf) of the book, but no, I didn't get any compensation for writing this review! Yes, Wendy and I are (online) friends, but no, if I wouldn't have liked the book, I wouldn't have written this review, but told her so.

Quinoa Wiki

... for those of you that want to know everything ;-)
Quinoa, a species of goosefoot , is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to ...
Updated: 08/11/2012, Sam
 
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Sam on 12/14/2012

It is, and don't forget, Quinoa is not only tasty, it is also very healthy!

Sheri_Oz on 12/14/2012

Since my first encounter with a quinoa salad I have been in love with the stuff. This book looks great.

Sam on 02/27/2012

Athena2011, just hop over to Wendy's website and try out some of her free recipes, I am sure you will like the result as Quinoa is both healthy and tasty ;-)

athena2011 on 02/27/2012

Thanks for this. I recently heard about the benefits of Quinoa so I bought some but have it in the pantry waiting on me to find a recipe to use it in. This will be very helpful..

Sam on 02/23/2012

Quinoa makes for a nice side dish, instead of rice or couscous, but it really comes in its own when incorporated into a recipe. Have a look at Wendy's website, link above, somewhere in my article, she has a lot of free Quinoa recipes available that are easy to make and taste great!

kaazoom on 02/23/2012

Looks like a good book. I;ve only tried Quinoa once and wasn't very impressed. Howeer it wasn't as part of a complete recipe

Sam on 02/22/2012

Yes, that is true, Carol, Wendy develops all her recipes herself and that shows!

Carol LIttle on 02/21/2012

I totally agree with all of your comments. I LOVE this cookbook, and am just thrilled with Wendy's delicious recipes! I think it's important to realize, too, that these recipes are authentic, not cut & pasted from other folks' blogs and online articles. Wendy, our Queen of Quinoa IS the real deal. Healthy cuisine is her passion ~ for her family and MY family is grateful for her efforts!

Sam on 02/21/2012

Thanks for adding your support and recommendation, ChefKeem! Means a lot coming from a real chef!

chefkeem on 02/21/2012

I love quinoa for its great taste, texture, and versatility. Oh, yeah - the health benefits are staggering too!
I own this book. I think it's (at least one of) the best on the market. The images are gorgeous and the recipes are actually quite easy.
Highly recommended!


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