Defeated by Quinoa

I am a pretty good cook.

I can make homemade ravioli with four cheese. I can make a fabulous mushroom sage-butter sauce for pasta.

My meatballs have made grown men weep.

When I bake bread, the smell alone can change your view of life.

And yet.

I have been defeated by quinoa.


A few short years ago, I had never heard of this miracle grain.  I was perfectly happy to go through life without it, until I tried it at a High School Reunion Weekend.  My friend Karen made a quinoa salad that was so delicious, the mere memory of it causes “yummy noises” to emerge from my watering mouth.

So I asked for the recipe. Of course I did.  I am the woman who recreated a dinner of seafood risotto over smoked mozzarella after eating it at a local restaurant.

(Mine was better.)

So I tried to make the quinoa recipe.  Karen’s was crisp, and fresh and flavorful.


Mine was a bowl of slimy little wormy things with a few bites of cashew and some bok choy. The quinoa grains looked like baby sperm, with big heads and long tails.  YeeeeeUk.

My friend assured me that quinoa was easy to cook, and really delicious!  So I tried again.

YeeeeUk redoux.

I asked for some advice.  All the cool foodies were into quinoa. I had to figure this out!!!

My friend Maureen told me to make sure that I rinsed my quinoa  thoroughly before I cooked it.  So I did.

I ended up with a pot of slimy little wormy things sticking to the bowl and just waiting for some flavor.  I added salt. I added pepper. I added fresh basil.  And lemon. And nuts.  I took a bite.

I threw it out.   Bleh.  Blehblehblehblehbleh.  It was sticky and a little oozy and slimy and yuck.

What the hell?

So I decided to give it up. I was simply not cut out for quinoa. I returned to making brown rice with roasted veggies and homemade chicken stock.  Yum!

Then I opened my cabinets and found two bags of quinoa: one red, one white.  Oh, oh.  I had already paid for them!  I HAD to use them! So I did a google search. “how to cook quinoa without the slimy little sperm tails making it gross.”

Or something like that.

I found a recipe that said, “Do not rinse”. Instead, it told me to lightly brown the sperm  quinoa in olive oil before adding veggies and stock.  I tried it.

Huzzah!  It was delightful!  Dry and firm and packed with nutritious deliciousness!  Yay, me!  Paul and I enjoyed it alongside our roast chicken, feeling both healthy and hip as we swallowed it down.  I was feeling so. smug.

Until I tried the exact same recipe two weeks later.  Exactly the same.  Precisely the exact same ingredients, cooking technique, temperature, time.

Exactly.  The. Same.

And I ended up with a bowl full of slimy little spermy wormies. I took one bite, gagged a little, and gulped down a swig of wine.

What the hell.

This process has repeated itself four or five times now.  One delicious, healthy side dish followed by two dinners that were nearly ruined by the slime patrol.  Another fabulously nutty salad, followed by a couple of tossed in the trash slime-oh-rific followups.

So I have come to the conclusion that there is a vast international quinoa conspiracy, no doubt lead by left-wing activists who hate America. I have come to realize that all the little dry curled up quinoa soldiers send coded messages at night, telling each other about the latest plan to defeat the meatball maven.

When they get the signal, they all unfurl those super spermy little tails and start to secrete ancient Aztec slime sauce, thereby ruining any plan for a yummy dinner.  In this way, they surely plan to take over the world.

So I am hereby announcing that I am giving up the quest for the quintessential quinoa.  I am switching back to nice cheesy, fattening, compliant risotto.

I know when I’ve been beaten.

12 thoughts on “Defeated by Quinoa

  1. I’d give up. I know where you’re coming from. I too can bake, cook, create great recipes. But …

    I cannot make pie crust. I can make one that looks good, but not one which is actually edible. If photography were the goal … or finding a way to create an indestructible building material that will outlast the pyramids. My pie crust could definitely be used instead of bricks AND mortar.

    This is how we are kept humble in this life. Because no one can do everything. Quinoa, pie crust … Waterloo. Eventually, we meet our over-match.

    Liked by 2 people

  2. I can’t stop laughing over the quinoa. Never had it. And after reading your post you couldn’t pay me to try it. I’ll stick with my tried-and-true health foods….Utz potato chips and Hershey dark chocolate kisses!

    We all can relate to mishaps from the kitchen. My husband and I were married in Oct. 1961. That Thanksgiving we had his parents for dinner. Mishap #1. I was trying really hard to do this dinner like they’re used to. I was sure I had everything until hubby told me I forgot the fennel. What the hell is fennel? Fine. I’ll go find it.

    Made antipasti, marinated artichoke hearts, stuffed mushrooms, FENNEL, lasagne, meatballs, sausage (hot and sweet), stuffed braciole and salad. THEN turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and stuffing. Last but not least, enough desert to feed a third world country.

    No one ate the damn fennel. Liquor finally pried it out of my father-in-law. Apparently I served the part of the fennel that gets thrown out and threw out what I should have served! Who knew? I had just turned 22 AND I’m a WASP! Did I learn a lesson? Yes I did! I’ve never served fennel again!!

    But I think I can help you in the pie crust department. I’ve used this recipe for years. Almost can’t ruin it. If you try it and don’t agree you made a flaky, tasty pie crust, let me know. I will retire my pie plate and stick a serving fork in my eye!


    Makes two 9″ or four 8″ crusts

    4 cups UNSIFTED flour
    1 tablespoon sugar
    2 teaspoons salt
    1 large egg
    1 3/4 cups Crisco shortening
    1 tablespoon cider vinegar
    1/2 cup COLD water

    Put flour, sugar and salt in bowl and mix well with fork. Add shortening and mix with pastry blender until crumbly.

    In small bowl beat egg, vinegar and water with fork or small whisk. Add to shortening/flour mixture. Cut in with knife until soft ball is formed. REFRIGERATE for at least 1/2 hour.

    Divide dough as needed. Roll out on lightly floured surface. Fit loosely into pie plate and press with fingers to remove air bubbles.

    Bake according to your pie recipe.

    Dough can remain refrigerated for up to 3 days or portions can be frozen until ready to use. Thaw to room temperature before rolling it out.


    • Whoah! Thank you, thank you!!! I will try it asap! Never heard of the cider vinegar in there.
      And I have to tell you, I love fennel! 100% Italian, what can I say? We dip it in olive oil and salt. Yum!


  3. Finally, someone who is on my side about this grain. I have Celiac disease and it is supposed to be a staple, but I hate it! By the time I add all I need to give it taste, I could have had a delicious steak. It is tasteless. To rinse or not to rinse, that is definitely the question? I’ll take a bowl of brown rice over quinoa any day (same amount of protein). Now I know that I am not alone in my hatred.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s