Monday, May 24, 2010

All About Quinoa

Free Quinoa Cereal photo and picture

The 5 W's this grain-like seed called Quinoa.

Who Eats Quinoa and What is Quinoa?
QUINOA, pronounced "keen-wah" was originally grown in South America in the Andes Mountain area. It was a staple of the Incas and considered their mother grain. It was brought to the United States in the 1980's and cultivated in California. It can be made as a nutritious substitute for rice and eaten as a side dish. It has a lot more protein than rice and can be prepared in a variety of ways.

Where is Quinoa Sold?
Quinoa can be purchased in any health food store, Whole Foods, Trader Joe, and many supermarkets carry quinoa in the natural food section. It comes in a bag, similar to how rice is sold, and looks like little sesame seeds. Quinoa is available in three varieties:  red variety, a white variety and a black variety.

When Do You Eat Quinoa?
Since quinoa looks like and has the texture of a grain, it can be served for breakfast as a hot cereal or for lunch or dinner as a side dish. ( It's actually a seed)
Why is Quinoa So Nutritious ?
Quinoa has a mild taste and is good plain, as a side dish, a pilaf  or used for stuffing vegetables. A 1/4 cup of dry quinoa provides 5 g of good quality protein and 4 g of dietary fiber. It is good for vegetarians because it is a completely balanced-amino-acid  AND it is low on the glycemic index for a grain ( 35) .This powerhouse grain is rich in nutrients, is a good source of fiber, and has 50% more protein than most other grains. It provides calcium (26 mg per 1 cup serving), iron (4 mg per serving), and B vitamins. Quinoa also contains high levels of lysine, an amino acid the body uses to make protein. It is easy to digest and adds variety and nutrients to a gluten free diet.

How Do You Cook Quinoa?

Quinoa can be prepared like rice. 2 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa according to the package directions. It is very versatile and can be made into a pilaf, a tabooleh, a stuffing or eaten plain like rice.

Free Pan Quinoa photo and picture
Recipe for Quinoa Tabooleh:

I  adapted this recipe from a recipe I saw on the Whole Foods Website . It can be served at room temperature and is perfect as a summer salad. Serves 4

1 cup quinoa, cooked according to package directions

1 cup finely chopped parsley

1/4 cup fresh mint, finely chopped ( optional)

5 green onions, finely chopped

2 cups small grape tomatoes, quartered

1 cucumber, peeled and seeded, and diced

Juice of 1 to 2 fresh lemons, more to taste

1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil

Pinch of crushed red pepper ( optional)
Sea salt and pepper and to taste 
Optional: orange sections 

Combine all ingredients together in a large serving bowl. Taste and adjust seasoning with salt, pepper and lemon juice. Serve room temperature or chilled.

Nutritional Info

Per serving (About 8.5oz/238g-wt.): 340 calories (180 from fat), 20g total fat, 2.5g saturated fat, 7g protein, 38g total carbohydrate (5g dietary fiber, 4g sugar), 0mg cholesterol, 100mg sodium

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