Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Quinoa Ivy Wrap

I have neglected for some time now to write this post; which surprises me because quinoa has pretty much found a weekly spot in my meal planning.
When people in my office see me eating it; they have so many questions. I'll share some.
Pre-cooked quinoa

Let's start with: what is quinoa?
The technical answer is that quinoa is a species of goosefoot; a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds (per Wikipedia). In short, it's a grain.
Why eat quinoa?
It's a great source of protein.
Is it easy to cook?
Yes, it's pretty much cooked the exact same way as rice.
What do you eat it with?
I use it as a substitute for rice and sometimes pasta.  I also use it as a protein filler to decrease the amount of meat-protein in a dish.
Is it expensive?
Not at all.  When I first searched it out, I paid $7 for a bag at Target, which I did think was expensive.  Since then I've realized that my local grocery store, Jewel, and Whole Foods sell it for much less.  I probably go through one or two boxes of this a month at $2.99 each.
I'd be surprised if you haven't heard of quinoa already.  It's one of those "trend" foods.  One of my favorite work lunches is Protein Bar.  Mainly because they have online ordering so I can avoid a long line, but also because it is SO good and fairly healthy.  The majority of their dishes are quinoa based.
I decided to try to recreate their Green Ivy. It turned out GREAT.
Ivy Quinoa Wrap

(Serves ~4)
  • 1lb chicken breast
  • 1 cup quinoa
  • 2+ cups fresh spinach
  • 4 wraps
  • 1/2 cup fresh parmesan
  • 1/2 to 1 cup pesto*
  • 1 can chicken broth**

*: Here's my go-to pesto recipe.  I omit pine seeds to save on cost and also cut calories.
**Note: Because it was my first time making quinoa, I decided to cook it in chicken broth for additional flavor.  Since then, I just cook it in water and cannot tell a difference
  • In a pot, add 2 cups water (or broth) and 1 cup quinoa (Whenever cooking quinoa, keep a 2:1 ratio between liquid and quinoa
  • Like rice, bring to a boil and then cover with lid and take down to a simmer
Initially in pot
  • Stir pesto into your quinoa
Cooked in pot
 You can tell the quinoa is cooked by taste/softness and when you start to
 see the outline of the grains, like below.
  • Bring water to a boil and steam your spinach
  • Add quinoa, chicken, spinach and cheese to your wrap and enjoy!
I recently created a Pinterest board for quinoa inspirations.  Often times I look at Protien Bar's menu and see what sounds good to recreate.  I've even subbed quinoa for pasta and made "mac and cheese" with it.  It's also a great noodle subtitute in "pasta" salad! I've used it as a substitute side for Cilantro Lime Chicken (just cooked and then adding in lime and cilantro for flavor).
The possibilities are endless!



  1. Yum! I am totally going to check out your Pinterest board too. Thanks for sharing.


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