Just this last spring a friend had introduced me to an amazing dish of salmon and quinoa. Funny, because up to that point I’d never tried it. I’ve heard of it, and saw it sometime in the grocery store’s bulk bins, but never bought it.

Salmon and quinoa…aaand what else? Nothing. Nothing else. It was simple, too simple I thought. Though when I tried it, it was amazing! I mean how can something taste so good that’s that simple? Don’t get me wrong; I did add a dash of salt and pepper to my mine, as did they, though that was it!

Today I make this dish a lot! And when I say a lot, I mean A LOT!

I usually make a big pot of it and eat it throughout the week, either for lunch or dinner. This is a great meal anytime of the day. I’ve eaten it both hot and cold. It lasts, so you can cook a lot of it for easy grab-n-go lunches. It’s a great pre- or post-running snack or meal and perfect for hiking!

Salmon and Quinoa

What you’ll do is grab a pot and fill it roughly a quarter full (2-2 ½ C) with water. You don’t really need to measure it out because all the excess water will evaporate out. Basically, one cup of dry quinoa makes four cups cooked.

Then you will take your quinoa and pour roughly 1 C of it into your pot of water. Then you will wait until the water starts to boil, and the quinoa will slowly start to absorb the water and cook. Also, occasionally stir the quinoa to make sure it’s not sticking to the bottom of the pan.

Once your quinoa is done, you’ll take your smoked salmon or cooked salmon and toss it in. That’s it!

Now because I use smoked salmon, and they too had used smoked salmon, there is no need to flavor it with any other seasonings. The smoked salmon is caned and usually flavored with jalapenos, garlic, onions, olive oil, etc. So when it comes time to add the salmon, there is no need to add those kinds of seasonings or additions since they’re already mixed in with the salmon.

I still make the basic salmon and quinoa, though sometimes I will add 1 can of black beans and 1 can of garbanzo beans, a dash of cayenne pepper and cumin.

Quinoa: The Everyday “Super Food”

One of the world’s healthiest foods, quinoa contains a perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids, and is a great source of protein, making it an increasingly popular food choice for those looking to incorporate “super foods” into their everyday diets. Gluten-free, wheat-free and nutrient-packed, quinoa is ideal for those who are health-conscious, vegetarian and physically active. But that’s not all: You can eat quinoa guiltlessly knowing it’s free of cholesterol and trans fats.

Nutrition: ¼ C cooked quinoa: 170 cal, 2.5 g fat, 2 mg sodium, 7 g protein

Though what really won me over is this seed’s extraordinary versatility. You can eat it plain, like the Incas and their descendants, who’ve considered quinoa a staple for more than 5,000 years. Or you can add quinoa to soups, use it to thicken a stew, or chill cooked quinoa and use it as the base for a salad.

Quinoa’s mild, nutty flavor goes well with almost anything and offers the perfect blank canvas for any number of savory additions. You can even bake quinoa into a casserole-type dish. Though best of all, quinoa is suited to any size meal for any size appetite.