Definition: Read on to learn about quinoa plus try some quinoa recipes.
What is quinoa?
While quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley. Try a quinoa pilaf salad recipe, or serve a vegetable stir-fry over cooked quinoa instead of rice. Quinoa is my favorite whole grain for three reasons: First, it takes less time to cook than other whole grains - just 10 to 15 minutes. Second, quinoa tastes great on its own, unlike other grains such as millet or teff. Add a bit of olive oil, sea salt and lemon juice and - yum! Finally, of all the whole grains, quinoa has the highest protein content, so it's perfect for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa provides all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free whole grain, is kosher for Passover, and is almost always organic.
Culinary ethnologists will be interested to know that quinoa was a staple food for thousands of years in the Andes region of South America as one of just a few crops the ancient Incas cultivated at such high altitude.
Prepare quinoa as you would prepare rice. Cover it with water or vegetable broth and boil until soft, about 15 minutes. Or, place 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water in your rice cooker. Did you know quinoa also makes a great hot breakfast cereal, similar to oatmeal? Here's 7 ways to eat quinoa for breakfast
Nutritional content of quinoa:
According to CalorieCount, 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa has 160 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. For more about the nutritional value and why quinoa is such a great addition to your diet see here: Nutritional value of quinoa
Shopping for quinoa
Shop for quinoa in the bulk bins or the baking aisle of natural foods stores, or find it online. More and more grocers are stocking quinoa these days. Check the ethnic foods aisle (sometimes it's next to the couscous and barley) or you might find it near the rice and pasta.
Try some healthy high-fiber and high-protein quinoa recipes:
- Seven amazing meat-free quinoa salads
- Quinoa for breakfast
- Garlic Quinoa Recipe with Parmesan Cheese
- Quinoa Veggie Salad
- Sweet Potato Quinoa Salad
- Greek Quinoa Recipe with Feta
- Gourmet Blueberry Dijon Quinoa Pilaf
- Quinoa with Pesto and Spinach
- Quinoa Tabbouleh
- Cranberry Lime Quinoa Salad
Pronunciation: KEEN-wah or KEE-nuh-wah