It’s pronounced KEEN-wah and this tiny seed offers a great alternative to rice, bulgur, barley and couscous. It’s long been a staple food in South America, especially in Bolivia, Peru and Chile. In more recent years, quinoa has become popular in the US and in the UK as an alternative to grains. Here are three reasons you should give it a try.
Quinoa Packs a Nutritional Punch
The #1 nutritional reason why people might choose quinoa is for its high protein content. This is especially important for those who don’t eat meat. It’s also a non-dairy source of calcium. Quinoa contains additional minerals including magnesium and manganese and is a source of B vitamins, vitamin E and fiber. In addition, a serving of quinoa provides a small amount of omega 3 fatty acids which help support a healthy heart.
It’s Easy To Make
Quinoa comes in three colors – beige (sometimes called white), red and black. The difference in taste is subtle and, depending on the dish, you might not even notice. Make sure to buy a package with no holes or tears since quinoa is sensitive to moisture. Store in an airtight container at home.
To remove some of quinoa’s bitterness, it’s important to rinse the seeds before using. Run them under cold water and drain thoroughly. To get rid of the soapy coating that gives it a bitter taste.
Add one part quinoa to two parts water. Some people add a ¼ tsp of salt but that isn’t necessary. Then cook the seeds like rice for 15-20 minutes; expect them to puff up while cooking. One cup of uncooked quinoa will result in three cups when cooked. When cooked, the seeds have a slight crunch. Some people find the taste very slightly bitter even while the texture is creamy. You’ll notice a nutty flavor.
Quinoa can be used as a breakfast cereal, in a cold salad, as a warm side dish, either plain or combined with other cooked vegetables such as peas and onions. Once you have a bowl of cooked quinoa, the options are very wide.
Here’s a recipe for a healthy tabbouleh salad made with quinoa. Or try this blueberry lemon quinoa dish as an alternative to your morning oatmeal. Do an internet search for “healthy quinoa recipes” for hundreds more options.
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