Quinoa – The Benefits and How To Use It

quinoa

“Quin- WHAT?” Quinoa is a food I was introduced to a few years ago by a dear friend who was teaching me new ways to eat and other things to improve my health. I had no idea this grain (seed) even existed let alone how to say it. It is one amazing seed that I think we all should incorporate into our diets.So how do you pronounce it anyway?

It is pronounced KEEN-whah.
Over 5000 years ago the Incas cultivated the grain-like seed quinoa as one of their staple crops.Quinoa is not a grain; it is actually a seed and related to the spinach family. When cooked, quinoa is light, fluffy, slightly crunchy and subtly flavored.It actually cooks and tastes like a grain, making it an excellent replacement for grains that are difficult to digest.

What are the benefits?

This seed is gluten free and chuck full of phytonutrients AND can even help balance your blood sugar.
Quinoa has the highest protein of any grain (16 percent) and, unlike other grains, is a COMPLETE protein with an essential amino acid profile similar to milk.  It contains MORE CALCIUM THAN MILK! So there you have it, there is another way to get calcium other than MILK. Quinoa has many other vital nutrients, including IRON, PHOSPHORUS, B VITAMINS, and VITAMIN E.
The thing I love about quinoa is that it is very easy to prepare quick to cook. (Unlike brown rice that takes 40 minutes to cook) quinoa only take 15 minutes on the stove top and even quicker made in the Instant Pot. (instructions here).
Looks kinda like rice, but round and has a little curly thing inside.
 

How do you make it?

  • Wash quinoa well before cooking to remove the bitter saponin that coats it. Some quinoa will come per-washed, but I always rinse mine.
  • Place the quinoa in the pan you are going to cook it in and cover it with water and lightly scrub with your hands for about 10 seconds.
  • Using a fine strainer (the seeds are very small) strain out the water and run fresh water over it until the water runs clear.
  • Place the quinoa back into your pan and add water.  Two cups of water or stock to 1 cup quinoa.
  • Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer 15 minutes.

How do you eat it?

  •  As versatile as rice, quinoa can be substituted for rice, millet, or even pasta in any recipe.
  •  Use it as a hot cereal, adding some cinnamon, nuts, fruit or maple syrup. (Now that is a good breakfast!)
  • It makes a great salad.  (Add cucumbers, tomatoes, feta, pumpkin seeds and your favorite salad dressing)  YUM, YUM!
There are a lot of recipes out there with quinoa in it.  I will be posting some keeper recipes that I have tried and love.
 

 Where do you get QUINOA?

  • Quinoa can be purchased in most grocery stores and will be located usually in the rice section.  Some stores even sell it bulk, like Winco, Good Earth and (my favorite store in Utah) Whole foods. Costco sells a bag of organic quinoa that I really like. You can also get this brand here.
  • There are three varieties of quinoa.  The most common variety of quinoa comes in off-white shades known as ‘white quinoa’. Other varieties that are popular include the red and black quinoa.  Both types offer more or less the same nutritional benefits that I have read into.  I have found the red quinoa to be more expensive, so I lean toward the white.

I hope this has broadened your horizons a little bit with food and has given you some more options of what there is out there that is NUTRITIONAL, EASY TO FIX and TASTY!

My dear friend, that I spoke of earlier, is an author of several books that I love. I use these books frequently in my kitchen, as they are great resources.These books are full of helpful information about the benefits, where the foods grow, how to use them, how to buy them, etc. I have more information about my favorite here.

Please post if you have any great ideas or recipes using this awesome SEED.  Share the LOVE!
Happy Eating!
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  • debipSeptember 30, 2013 - 1:25 am

    My daughter in law introduced me to quinoa, and I love it! I buy the Tru-Roots brown rice and quinoa blend at Costco, cook as directed. When done, I add a can of drained black beans, cumin, red pepper flakes, chili powder and some salsa, warming it to taste. I’ve used it as a main dish this way, or to fill a burrito, even put it on corn tortilla chips with a bit of cheese and extra salsa for nachos. I also enjoy it with cajun spices, using red beans, making “dirty rice”, a dish popular in the south–so many possibilities. I try to maintain vegetarian diet, and this is a staple for me–thanks for the post!ReplyCancel

    • Jan HowellSeptember 30, 2013 - 4:30 am

      Thanks for the great tips! I would love to know your “dirty rice” recipe.
      I like the Tru-Roots stuff at Costco as well. What would we do without Costco?

      Thanks again for sharing!ReplyCancel

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