Quinoa, the power grain!

A powerhouse of nutrition with great flavor, pleasing texture while easy to use it is very versatile. Quinoa is called a grain; however is a Latin American seed that is from the goosefoot plant. It is an ancient American food staple that is grown at over 12,000 feet in the Andes. It has been cultivated for over 5,000 years. Thriving in the mountainous areas of South America on poor soil with little precipitation.
Quinoa has been called the Top Food for Women in 2009 and the Mother of all grains. Containing complete protein, providing nine essential amino-acids that promote growth and tissue repair is only the beginning of the nutritional value. Quinoa also contains 2.6 gm. of fiber, calcium, magnesium, copper, folic acids as well as zinc, making it a superoxide, dismutase and antioxidant.
The magnesium in quinoa may also help reduce migraines and milder headaches when it relaxes blood vessels. It provides as much protein as milk, containing more iron than most other grains, and has high quantities of potassium and B vitamins.

  • White, purple, red orange or black quinoa they all have a high nutritional value, there is no nutritional difference among the colors. Try them all! They add an element of color and texture to different dishes and you will find your favorites. (There are several recipes in my Today’s The Day Cookbook using quinoa; it is a great starting point if you are new to the powerhouse grain.)
  • Cooked quinoa resembles rice, white or brown rice depending on the color of the quinoa. All quinoa has a slightly nutty flavor when cooked, but red quinoa is chewier and crunchier than its white counterpart.
  • For my gluten free buddies: This is a fantastic food for you to add to your diet. A substitute for some of your favorite pasta but with better nutritional value.

To cook quinoa:

  • Rinse in a fine mesh strainer. This will remove any bitter taste left by the natural coating of saponin which is removed in the cleansing process before it reaches consumers. It also rinses off excess starch
  • Place in a cooking pot with the water and salt.
  • Cover and bring to a boil.
  • Reduce to low – med. heat and continue to cook for 15 min.
  • Allow to rest covered 5 min off heat
  • Fluff with a fork

Substitute quinoa for couscous or orzo in any dish. Great added to soups. Choose from: avocado, red onion, banana peppers, green, red, yellow or orange peppers, shredded lettuce, beans, dried fruit like cranberries, nuts or seeds, olives, corn, grapes, bean sprouts, tomatoes, feta cheese…..to mix together for a salad, side dish or make a wrap from romaine lettuce leaves, corn wraps or Sushi Nori sea wraps. Adding chicken, shrimp or crab meat is also great.
Try something new if you have not tried Quinoa and find a new easy “go to” dish for you and your family.

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