Monday, January 27, 2014

What is Quinoa?

Quinoa (pronounced Keen – wah) is a Superfood—one of the only plant foods that provides a complete protein—offering all the essential amino acids in a healthy balance.

Quinoa has an unusually high ratio of protein to carbohydrate since the germ makes up about 60% of the grain. For comparison, wheat germ comprises less than 3% of a wheat kernel. Additional features of quinoa include:
  • Highest in potassium of all the whole grains, which helps control blood pressure. 
  • Gluten-free, making it extremely useful to the celiac community and others who may be gluten sensitive. 
  • Although technically not a grain, botanically quinoa is related to beets, chard and spinach. 
Bolivian Farmer with Quinoa crop in the Andes, South America
Photo: Michael Hermann
It’s a very cost effective base grain that can be used to create different recipes. Use it for dinner in place of rice, in salads and for breakfast.

Quinoa is a 5,000-year-old ancient grain grown in the Peruvian and BolivianAndes. Buying it helps support farmers in underdeveloped communities. It is the original non-GMO seed.

How to Prepare Quinoa for Breakfast
If you can boil water you can make quinoa for your family—and it’s inexpensive at about 50 cents per serving. These directions are for cooking quinoa for any recipe.

• Use 1 cup of quinoa to 1½ -­ 2 cups of water to equal 4 servings
• Use saucepan with lid, measuring cup and small wire-mesh strainer

1. Rinse the Quinoa in cold water and pour through the mesh strainer to remove the bitter husks and grit (Important).
2. Boil the water (optional: add a little olive oil or salt).
3. Add the quinoa, letting it boil for a moment as you stir.
4. Reduce heat to low, cover and cook for about 15 minutes.
5. For breakfast serve with fresh fruit or trail mix. Add maple syrup and a splash of almond or coconut milk.
6. Store any leftovers in a container with lid to re-­heat later.

Hint: Use vegetable or chicken broth instead of water for dinner recipes

While no single food can supply all the essential life sustaining nutrients, quinoa comes closer than most. Try it and I think you will find yourself eating it on a regular basis like me.

Have you ever eaten quinoa and if so, what's your favorite way to prepare it? I love it for breakfast.


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