Monday, April 16, 2012


Red and white uncooked quinoa

Quinoa, frequently dubbed a super-food, is very often mistakenly lumped in with ancient grains,  such as spelt, which are very popular right now among foodies.  Quinoa is actually a gluten-free seed, and was cultivated and eaten by the Incas, who regarded quinoa very highly, thousands of years before it appeared on North American store shelves.

Quinoa is a nutritional powerhouse :
 " its protein content is very high (18%). Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), and like oats, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it a complete protein source.[14] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. "


Quinoa has a very mild nutty taste, is pretty to look at, has a little crunch, and is satisfying and filling.  It's easy to insert quinoa into your diet.  It can be eaten cold or hot, and trying it in the place of wherever you use rice, pasta or potatoes is easy to do.  It also cooks up quickly in the same manner as rice.   The accepted ratio is 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups of water.

Quinoa Salad
(serves 6 as a salad and 4 as a main course)
  • Pinch of salt
  • 250 ml (1 cup) quinoa
  • 500 ml (2 cups) water
  • 2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
  • 1/2 red pepper, small dice
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) pitted green olives, finely chopped
  • 2,5 ml (1/2 teaspoon) ground cumin
  • Large pinch smoked paprika
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  • 8 asparagus, blanched, sliced
  • Juice of half a lemon
  • 15 ml (1 tablespoon) walnut oil (or other nut or seed oil)
  • Salt and freshly ground pepper
  • 125 ml (1/2 cup) pine nuts, toasted
  • Combine the first three ingredients in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over medium high heat.  Immediately turn heat down to minimum, cover and let cook for 10-15 minutes.  Uncover and let the quinoa come to room temperature. Transfer the quinoa to a bowl. Add the remaining ingredients, minus the pine nuts, season to taste and toss to blend. Add the pine nuts right before serving so that they retain their crunch.

There are apparently many types of quinoa found in the Andes, but in North America three types can be found easily:  white, black and red.  Quinoa breakfast cereals have also become popular and quinoa flour is used in gluten free cooking.

Potentially great recipes from a few of my favorite and reliable internet recipes resources:

Quinoa and chickpea salad
Quinoa patties 
Quinoa hot cereal 
Tempeh and quinoa bowl
Quinoa cookies

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