Orange Cran Quinoa Recipe

I have a confession to make. I had never, before a few months ago, eaten quinoa before. How I have managed to miss this super- popular, super grain is somewhat beyond me, but there you have it. Quinoa has become very trendy in the last few years, and you can buy it anywhere, from a grocery store to a high-end restaurant. What is so great about quinoa, especially for students, is the amount of protein in it. There are so many nutrients in quinoa, but because it has so much protein in it, it is a great dish to eat and keep you going throughout the day. It is also a great alternative to meat, so if you are a vegetarian, or just trying to cut down on how much meat you eat in a day, this is a really healthy way to do so. 

My  mom ended up bringing a giant bag home from Costco one day, and I was determined to do something with it, but the big question was what. Well, I researched some recipes, and after a little bit (i.e. a ton) of trial and error, I found a recipe that is great to take to school for a healthy and yummy lunch or dinner. 

What you need:

1 cup of cooked quinoa½ cup of dried cranberries6 tablespoons orange juice2 tablespoons olive oil1 teaspoon orange zest1 teaspoons fresh thyme leaves¼ teaspoon salt

How to make it:

Step 1: Make the quinoa.

Tips: I have very few skills in the kitchen, but making quinoa was so easy, and someone of any cooking level can do it. Since the quinoa I bought was prewashed, I just had to put the quinoa in some liquid and cook away. All you have to do is make sure that your ratio of water to quinoa is correct, and if that is done properly, all will turn out. I believe that cooking times and ratios may differ from package to package, so you should follow the cooking instructions on whatever package you buy. Another great tip is to switch the water out for vegetable stock, as it adds a whole lot of flavour during the cooking process. Once those were mixed together, bring the mixture up to a boil. Once it boils, bring down to a simmer and let it cook away for 15 minutes. I found that 13 minutes was good, and by that point, the bottom layer of quinoa was starting to stick to the bottom of the pot, the same way that stovetop oatmeal does when it is finished cooking. When it is finished, pour the finished quinoa into a bowl and leave to cool, or refrigerate. 

Step 2: In a separate bowl, whisk together the oil, orange zest, thyme, and salt, and put aside until needed.

Step 3: When the quinoa has cooled down, mix it together with the dried cranberries, then drizzle the separate mixture on top of the quinoa and cranberries. Mix everything together thoroughly and either serve or store in the fridge for later. 

The great thing about this recipe is that it makes three full portions, so you will have lots to store for later. It is great to take to school, as it stays fresh in your bag, and all you need to do is give it a quick stir before reading.