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Book Review: The Complete Idiot’s Guide Quinoa Cookbook

It has been a busy week here for cookbooks on Quinoa!

Released in July, The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Quinoa Cookbook, is another addition to the Complete Idiot’s Guide series of cookbooks. as usual it is reader friendly and well laid out. While the book runs the gamut of recipes (from breakfast to dessert), it has a different feel than some of their other books, mostly due to the recipes being on the gourmet end. This being due to a number the recipes coming from chefs. It is an omnivore’s book, featuring a number of meat/fish recipes but also has plenty of vegetarian and bean based dishes to choose from as well. Don’t look for vegan recipes though. Still, it gave me some new ideas!

Being the sucker for new ideas I decided to try the Quinoa Polenta with Parmesan and Sage on page 245, as I had everything on hand, including already cooked quinoa. Win-win. I have had commercially prepared quinoa polenta before and it didn’t impress me very much (polenta in a tube…eek). So I wasn’t sure if we’d like it or not. Lesson learned – don’t base preconceptions on sad processed foods. So I am glad I took the chance. I served the polenta with my handmade red sauce on top (a pint jar was plenty) and oven roasted zucchini spears. And the leftovers? Even better! I had some left that I chilled. It was very firm. I heated up a bit of olive oil and sautéed them until golden on both sides, served with a little cold red sauce on top. Oh wow. Fantastic! The quinoa adds texture and heartiness to the polenta.

Quinoa Polenta with Parmesan and Sage


  • 1½ tsp extra virgin olive oil
  • 1 small yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1½ tsp garlic, minced
  • 2¼ cups vegetable broth (see below for an easy recipe!)
  • 2 cups low-fat milk + 2 Tbsp unfiltered apple cider vinegar
  • ½ tsp fine sea salt
  • 1½ cups Organic Corn Grits/Polenta
  • ½ cup cooked quinoa (cold is fine)
  • 1 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 Tbsp fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 2 Tbsp unsalted butter (used cultured organic)
  • ¾ cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmigiano Reggiano cheese


Preheat the oven to 350°, lightly oil a 9×13″ glass baking dish with olive oil.

In a large saucepan over medium-high, add the olive oil, onion and garlic. Cook for a minute or two.

Add the broth, soured milk, sea salt and bring just to a boil. Slowly whisk in the polenta, and continue to whisk until mixture begins to thicken, lowering the heat as needed.

Stir in the quinoa, black pepper, sage leaves, butter and cheese. Continue whisking until very thick.

Spread the mixture into the prepared baking dish, smooth out and bake for 20 minutes.

Remove from the oven and let rest for 10 minutes. Slice into squares, an offset thin spatula helps the removal.

Serves 4 (or more).

Vegan Friendly Broth Powder


  • 1 1/3 cups Large Flake Nutritional Yeast
  • 2 Tbsp onion powder (not onion salt!)
  • 1 Tbsp granulated garlic
  • 1 tsp dried thyme
  • 1 tsp dried rubbed sage
  • 1 tsp paprika
  • ½ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp dried parsley
  • ½ tsp dried celery flakes


Add the ingredients into a dry mixing container for a high-speed blender –

Process on high until smooth (takes less than 30 seconds). If using a normal blender it will take a bit longer.

Store in an airtight container. Use 1 Tablespoon dry mix per cup of water.

Makes about 12 Tablespoons dry mix.


FTC Disclaimer: We received a review copy for potential review.

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