10 Things You Should Know About Quinoa
Trying to add more healthy whole grains to your diet?
Choosing quinoa is a nutritious and easy to prepare whole grain to begin with.
Quinoa is a great food not just for vegetarians and vegans, but for anyone looking to lower their cholesterol or add fiber to their diet.
Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) is a highly nutritious gluten-free grain. This ancient grain contains more protein than any other grain, with a good balance of all 8 essential amino acids, making it a good choice for vegetarians.
Quinoa is also high in fibre and has a low-GI, beneficial for keeping blood sugar levels stable. Quinoa is an ideal grain for diabetics.
Once the domain of health-food stores, quinoa is becoming more widely available in supermarkets. Crops of it are now grown here, although much of what is available is imported.
Most large supermarkets are stocking three types of quinoa – white, red and black – for the past year.
Quinoa is one of the most nutrient rich grains around, being a good source of iron, needed to transport oxygen around the body, B vitamins for energy, calcium and magnesium for healthy nervous system function, and vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant.
Need 10 more reason to try quinoa, keep reading.
1. It’s Delicious
No matter how ‘good for you’ a food is, it has to pass the taste test or I just wont eat it. Slightly nutty and grainy, they’re something I could keep eating and eating.
2. It’s High in Protein
One of the best reasons to enjoy quinoa is because it has a high-protein content, which makes it a great cholesterol-free and low-fat source of protein for vegetarians and vegans.
3. It’s Gluten Free
Its great to find another great tasting ingredient to add to the gluten free list.
4. It Needs Washing Before Use
The surface of quinoa contains a chemical called saponin that has a bitter soapy taste. Most commercial quinoa will already be washed and have the saponin removed but it’s a good idea to rinse it just before you use it in case there are residues.
5. It Comes in Different Colours
Just like grapes, quinoa comes in different varieties. The most common is white, but there are also red and black.
6. It Comes in Different Forms
Just like corn, it can be puffed or rolled into flakes or you can buy it whole.
7. it looks like a grain but is actually a seed
8. It Has an Interesting Texture
The thing I love about quinoa is it’s texture. Something a little like barley with its chewiness, it also has a light fluffiness similar to well prepared couscous.
9. It’s Better if You Cook It
One of my first experiment with quinoa I just rinsed it in boiling water, tossed it in dressing and used it in a salad. It was edible but a little weird.
10. It’s Becoming More Readily Available
In Australia it’s even available in the ‘health food’ section of our supermarkets. Any health food store worth its lentils would either already stock quinoa or be able to source it for you.
Simple Quinoa Recipe
Walnut and Fetta Quinoa Salad
- 1 1/4 cups organic quinoa, rinsed, drained
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 4 anchovies, drained, finely chopped
- 2 garlic cloves, crushed
- 2 stalks celery, halved, thinly sliced
- 150g Greek-style fetta, crumbled
- 1 cup roughly chopped walnuts, toasted
- 12 semi sun-dried tomatoes, drained, thickly sliced diagonally
- 1 cup roughly chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley leaves
Place quinoa and 2 1/2 cups cold water in a medium saucepan over high heat. Bring to the boil. Reduce heat to medium. Simmer, covered, for 15 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Transfer to a large plate to cool.
Combine oil, lemon juice, anchovy and garlic in a large serving bowl. Season with salt and pepper. Add quinoa and remaining ingredients. Toss gently to combine. Serve.