Even though quinoa has been around for centuries it really didn’t become mainstream until a few years ago. It became the ‘in‘ thing to eat. However it wasn’t just a fad. It’s here to stay and getting more a part of our every day food intake.
So let’s go into a little educational lesson here.
First of all, if you’re wondering about pronunciation it’s pronounced “KEEN-wah“.
Next, if you’re looking for a highly nutritious carbohydrate, that’s not only going to help you stay lean, but will also maximize your energy levels, then you definitely need quinoa into your life. For the the flavor by it self is a cross between brown rice and oatmeal. It’s creamy, a little crunch with a nutty undertone. However the flavor takes on whatever you mix in with it; kind of like tofu (or so I’m told.. sorry but I can’t stand that stuff).
Okay so you’re slightly intrigued… but you still don’t quite know what it is, right?
Quinoa is often thought of as a grain, but it’s actually the seed of a leafy green plant called Chenopodium (also known as goosefoot), which is related to Swiss chard and spinach.
Quinoa has a structure similar to wheat or rice. Like grains, it can be eaten whole or ground into floor to make bread, cereal or pasta. But unlike a lot of grains, quinoa is not stripped of it’s bran and germ when it’s processed as a food source. When grains are refined to make white flour, white rice etc., the fiber-rich bran and vitamin-rich germ are removed, leaving only the endosperm behind. Quinoa always contains it’s bran and germ.
Quinoa comes in a variety of colors and from my personal experience they really don’t have that much of a taste difference.
But we’ll go into taste later. Let’s talk health benefits here. We’re all trying to live a longer, healthier life. Most of us no longer can eat like we did when we were 15 and inhaling a pizza, Doritos and Big Gulp was the ‘norm’ when out with the gang on a Friday night. God, I think my pants would jump right out of my hands if I ate that then tried to put them on! That would be just torture to them! LOL
- Complete Source of Protein: Unlike most grains, which contain an incomplete source of protein (you need to pair them with another food to make the meal complete), quinoa provides the full spectrum of nine essential amino acids.
- Heart Healthy:Quinoa is especially high in is magnesium which is important for maintaining good cardiovascular health.Magnesium helps to relax the blood vessels, reducing the rates of hypertension, heart disease, or heart arrhythmias.
- Antioxidant Support: Quinoa does a wonderful job of boosting your antioxidant levels — being high in both manganese and copper, which help to promote a healthy immune system, and ensure that red blood cells remain in top condition.
- Essential Amino Acids: Quinoa is one of the few plant-based foods that contains all nine essential amino acids. There are 20 amino acids that the body needs to function properly, but the body can only produce 11 of them. The other nine, which are called essential amino acids, must come from food or supplements.
- High in Fiber: One cup of cooked quinoa contains five grams of fiber. Fiber helps keeps the body regular, reduces the risk for certain types of cancer (especially colon and breast cancer), and lowers LDL (bad) cholesterol.
- Gluten Free: Quinoa is safe for those with gluten intolerance.
Now the good stuff… food!
I have a few recipes posted thus far starring this amazing food but keep an eye out for even more awesome recipes featuring quinoa!
Just to name a few…
1 cup uncooked quinoa will yield 3 cups cooked.Print
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed well and drained *See Note 1
- 2 cups stock (any flavor really) *See Note 2
- 1 Tbl butter (optional but it helps with the toasting)
- Put the quinoa and butter in a pan and saute over medium for about 5-7 minutes or until the quinoa smells nutty. They will also get slightly browned (don’t burn them!). Also, stir gently while they are cooking.
- Pour the stock and bring just to a boil.
- Once it boils, reduce the heat to low, cover and cook for
- ~15 minutes or until the liquid is all dissolved.
- After 15 minutes, turn off the heat and remove the pot from the burner. Let stand for 5 minutes, covered.
- After 5 minutes, remove the lid, fluff the quinoa gently with a fork, and serve. (You should see tiny spirals (the germ) separating from and curling around the quinoa seeds.)
Note 1: Why rinse quinoa? Rinsing removes quinoa’s natural coating, called saponin, which can make it taste bitter or soapy. Although boxed quinoa is often pre-rinsed, it doesn’t hurt to give the seeds an additional rinse at home. Some cookbooks suggest soaking the quinoa but, in our experience, this is unnecessary.
Note 2: You can use plain water if you’re going with a non-savory dish. When making sweetened ones I tend to use milk and water. Using stock helps enhance the flavor of the quinoa