(pronounced KEEN-wah) Quinoa is a seed native to South America. It is often mistaken as a grain but it is a tiny seed. It has a mild taste, almost a little nutty. Quinoa is gluten free so is very popular in the Celiac community. It is extremely high in protein and essential amino acids so it is also very important in the vegetarian and vegan lifestyle.
Quinoa is high fiber, low on the glycemic index, low sodium, low calorie and low fat depending on how you prepare it. It contains many vitamins such as A, E, thiamin, riboflavin, niacin, B6, folate and minerals calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, zinc, copper, manganese and selenium. Now that is a bowl full of goodness.
Quinoa is great used in recipes instead of couscous or orzo. It makes a wonderful base for salads you may have made with rice or orzo in the past. It only takes about 15 minutes to cook and it is cooked similar to making rice or couscous. It makes a wonderful side dish instead of a starchy potato and can be flavoured with any number of herbs and spices. It makes a great breakfast cereal, hot or cold. I love it as a breakfast cereal with fresh berries, a drizzle of pumpkin seed oil, some raw walnuts and a good sprinkle of cinnamon. You can add it to muffin mixes, pancake batter, sprinkle it on salad etc.
A great Quinoa salad recipe for you to try…..one that I enjoy.
1 cup rinsed quinoa, 2 cups water
16 oz. soaked and cooked kidney beans or… in a pinch you could use a 15 oz. can red kidney beans drained and rinsed
5 green onions, cleaned and chopped, 1 red pepper diced, 1/2 jalapeno pepper seeded and minced (could use whole jalapeno if you like it hot)
1 1/2 cups corn kernels, 2 tbsp olive oil, 2 tbsp chopped fresh parsley, 1/2 tsp black pepper, 1 tsp Himalayan sea salt, 1/2 lime
Cook the quinoa in the water according to package directions. Once cooked fluff the quinoa in a large bowl. In another bowl combine the beans, onion, red pepper, jalapeno, corn, olive oil, parsley, pepper and salt. Stir that mixture into the quinoa. You can serve this warm or put in the refrigerator for later. Squeeze the lime over the dish before serving. I have added chopped avocado to this salad in the past as well. YUMMY.