If you're looking for a workable definition of quinoa, try this one.  According to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, this is what quinoa is:

An annual herb (Chenopodium quinoa) of the goosefoot family that is native to the Andean highlands and is cultivated for its starchy seeds which are used as food and ground into flour.

Did that help?  I didn't think so.

Maybe this will help.

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I'll admit. Until writing this story, I didn't know much about quinoa either. I mean, I have eaten it and I like it. But, truth be told, I didn't really even know exactly what in the heck it is.

But, okay, we'll go with it.  It's not a grain, it's a seed. I think this recipe, from Merritt Bates-Thomas (with the Green River District Health Department in Owensboro, KY) is a great introduction to quinoa. It's relatively easy to prepare and is a great way to showcase and compliment those "seeds" with Brussels sprouts and cranberries.


1 cup quinoa
2 1/2 tablespoons olive oil
2 cloves of garlic pressed or diced or 1/2 teaspoon of garlic powder or granules
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1/2 teaspoon Italian herb blend, finely ground
1 pound pork tenderloin
5 - 6 fresh Brussels sprouts, shredded
1 cup fresh cranberries
Prepare quinoa according to package directions.  While the quinoa cooks, add olive oil to a large skillet and heat to medium.  Mix together garlic, salt, pepper, and Italian herb blend.
Season both sides of pork tenderloin with the mixture.  This is Merritt's go-to pork tenderloin recipe.  She has mastered cooking the pork so that it's juicy and tender, which can sometimes be a challenge with pork tenderloin. Add the tenderloin to a skillet and cook over medium heat until it is browned on all sides and a meat thermometer registers145 degrees Fahrenheit. This takes approximately 20 minutes.
Wash the Brussels sprouts and remove the outer leaves.  Cut into narrow slices and break apart so they will cook evenly.  Add to your skillet and cook over medium-low heat until the edges are lightly browned or caramelized on the edges.
Then, add cranberries with 2 cups of water to a saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and let simmer until the cranberries pop - approximately 10 minutes. **By the way, the cranberries really help give this dish a bit of "holiday" flavor.
Add your Brussels sprouts and drained cranberries to the quinoa and gently mix together.
Add quinoa pilaf to a serving platter.  Slice pork approximately 1/2 inch thick and arrange over pilaf.
Merritt Bates Thomas
Merritt Bates Thomas
 This recipe makes 4 servings.
PRO TIP: After Merritt shared this recipe on my morning radio show, I took my serving home and had it for dinner.  I steamed some broccoli and added it to the dish. It was DELICIOUS!
What's Cookin'? is sponsored weekly by Kentucky Legend. If you'd like to try recipes featuring Kentucky Legend's award-winning ham, CLICK HERE!

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