Quinoa … hailed as one of the world’s most popular health foods
So what’s all the hype around quinoa? Quinoa pronounced ‘keen-wa’ is a great wheat-free alternative to starchy grains. There are three types: red, creamy white and black. In addition to being gluten-free, it has twice the protein content of rice or barley, and is also a very good source of calcium, magnesium and manganese. It contains all nine essential amino acids making it a complete protein source. It is also high in fibre, B-vitamins, iron, potassium, phosphorus, vitamin E and various beneficial antioxidants.
Quinoa is high in anti-inflammatory phyto-nutrients, which means it can be beneficial in the prevention and treatment of disease. It contains small amounts of the heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids as well.
I’m trying to increase my protein and fibre intake both of which are so important as we age and this is a great alternative.
“Quinoa originated in the Andean region of northwestern South America, and was domesticated
3,000 to 4,000 years ago for human consumption in the Lake Titicaca basin of Peru and Bolivia.” – Wikipedia
How to buy and cook this healthy grain
So what I’ve been told about buying and storing quinoa is that moisture can affect its freshness. For this reason, it’s important to make sure there are not tears or holes in the packet when you buy it. If you store it in an airtight container once opened and keep it in a cool, dry place it can last for several months.
Quinoa seeds have a naturally bitter coating to deter birds that must be soaked off before preparing. Packaged quinoa has likely been pre-soaked, but check before cooking. To cook it:
- soak 1 cup in 2 cups water for 5-10 minutes (to dissolve any remaining bitter coating)
- drain and rinse then pour into a pot and add 1 1/2 cups of water and a half teaspoon of salt
- boil and then cover with a tight-fitting lid – let simmer for 15 minutes
- remove from heat and let sit for 5 minutes, covered
- fluff with a fork and serve
This healthy grain is very versatile so it can be consumed for breakfast (as a cereal), lunch (as a salad) or dinner (as a side).
Some delicious Quinoa recipes
Here are a couple of my favourite tasty recipes I found on Pinterest: