The word Quinoa (pronounced “keen wah”) means “mother grain.” Which may be why some think it is a grain, or it could be because it’s commonly used as a rice substitute or as pasta. But it’s not a typical grain! It’s actually closer to a leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard and is very easy to digest. Great for those with digestive issues or those who want to loose weight.
Quinoa is highly nutritious, that’s not only going to help you stay lean, but will also maximize your energy levels, and boost your brain power! Quinoa also does a wonderful job of boosting your antioxidant levels which help to promote a healthy immune system, and ensure that red blood cells remain in top condition.
According to the “Alternative Field Crops Manual” of the University of Wisconsin, Quinoa has a lower sodium content and higher amounts of calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, copper, manganese and zinc than wheat, corn or barley. Quinoa is not only a good source of fiber and protein, it is packed with amino acids, enzymes, vitamins, minerals, fiber, antioxidants and phytonutrients.
A cup of quinoa will give you around 127 calories and 4.5 grams of protein. Quinoa is a native of Peru where it grows both wild and under cultivation for centuries beginning with the Incas. It is technically a pseudo-cereal since it is not a member of the grass family, but rather produces seeds (usually called berries) which can be cooked or ground into flour. Quinoa imparts a light nutty flavor to dishes. It enhances soups, stews, and rice dishes. Although widely thought of as a grain, Quinoa is actually related to Spinach and Chard.
How to cook Quinoa
You begin by soaking your quinoa in water for about 15 minutes. After soaking, rinse for two or three minutes in a fine metal strainer.
It’s definitely important to rinse it before cooking — not only does it remove any extra residue (as you point out), but it also keeps it from being bitter once cooked. (If you are using pre-rinsed quinoa you can skip this step)
In a medium size saucepan, add 1 part quinoa to 1 1/2 parts liquid. As always, choose the liquid that best suits the dish you are making (water, chicken broth, beef broth, etc.) Bring to a simmer and then reduce to low. Cover and cook for between 30 and 35 minutes. Remove from heat and let sit covered for an additional five minutes. Fluff and serve. Your quinoa is now ready to be added to your recipes.
From breakfast to dinner, sprouted quinoa can be used in a host of recipes –- cereals, salads, wraps, stuffings, soups, and stews. Substitute it for bulgur, rice, couscous, barley or millet.
Try this popular recipe Spanish Rice