Quinoa may be new to many of us, but it has been in this world for centuries. Native to Northern South American, quinoa was domesticated in the Andes around 5000 BC and was a staple food of the Incas. Interestingly, quinoa is related to the same family as beets and spinach.
Although we treat it like one, quinoa is not a grain, but rather a seed. If you want to refer to quinoa as a grain, thats fine, I do sometimes. Quinoa closely resembles a grain and is prepared like one, thats why I don’t mind calling it a grain. However, its fun to know its true identity.
Quinoa is gluten free, and therefore can be consumed safely by people with a gluten allergy.
Quinoa contains greater amounts of protein and minerals than most grains. It contains all nine essential amino acids in high enough amounts to be considered a complete protein. It is exceptionally high in the essential amino acid lysine, which is usually deficient in grain crops. Due to quinoa’s amino acid profile, it is a good food to include on a vegan or vegetarian diet.
For cancer prevention we should be consuming a plant based diet, meaning we should decrease our emphasis on animal foods. Quinoa is a good food to include at a meat-less meal because it will help you meet your protein requirements.
Quinoa Nutrition Details (1/2 cup cooked quinoa)
- 111 calories
- 4 gm protein
- 2 gm fat
- 19 gm carb
- 3 gm fiber
- 0 mg cholesterol
- 16mg calcium
- 1.4 mg iron
- 6 mg sodium
Quinoa’s nutritional profile isn’t the only reason why you should eat it. It also tastes great! It has a mild nutty flavor. Just as any other grain, quinoa is bland if eaten without seasoning.
Quinoa can be used as a substitute in any recipe calling for rice or couscous. It can also be eaten for breakfast as a hot cereal instead of oatmeal.
Rinse quinoa under water before use. Use two cups of water per cup of quinoa. Combine quinoa and water together in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to a boil. Lower the heat and cover. Cook on low heat for 15 minutes. White threads will appear around each grain when it is done.
You can cook quinoa in a variety of liquids. I have cooked it in broth for more flavor. Or I have cooked it in almond milk if eating it for breakfast.
Quinoa pretty much doubles in size when cooked. 1 Cup of uncooked quinoa will yield 2 cups when cooked.
Quinoa can be pricey in some stores. You need to shop around to find a good deal. I have been buying a 4 pound bag of organic quinoa from Costco for only $8.99. That is a very good deal!the quinoa I bought from Costco
Question: What is your favorite way to eat quinoa? Leave a comment in the comments section.
Photo by: nerissa’s ring