Quinoa, pronounced KEEN-WAH, makes for heart healthy, nutritious, easy gluten free recipes. This lovely, gluten free food creates beautiful grain salads or balances out vegetables or bean soups and is a great way to incorporate healthy eating habits.
History of Quinoa:
It has been called the “mother seed” as it was grown predominantly in the South American Andes Mountains, in the regions of Bolivia, Columbia, Ecuador, and Peru; making it known to have once been the Inca’s staple food.
Health benefits of Quinoa:
- Gluten-free: Because quinoa is not wheat or grain, it is safe for gluten sensitive diets.
- Weight-loss: Although it is a complex carbohydrate it is low on the glycemic index. With only 172 calo-ries per ¼ cup (dry) and high in protein, recent gluten free diets are proving to increase energy and reduce weight.
- Nutrients: Good source of riboflavin which improves energy metabolism in muscle and brain cells to help reduce migraines and South American’s use the saponins from quinoa as an antiseptic to heal skin injuries.
How to make Basic Quinoa:
- 1 cup quinoa
- 1 ¾ cups water (or broth)
- pinch sea salt
- *Rinse quinoa well with warm water; drain through a fine-weave strainer.
- Place rinsed quinoa, water, and sea salt into a medium pot with a tight-fitted lid.
- Bring all ingredients to a full boil; reduce heat to low. DO NOT stir.
- Simmer 15 – 20 minutes or until all liquid has been absorbed; fluff with a fork before serving.
Yields 3 cups
Tips and tricks on how to cook whole grains:
- Sorting: Look for (and remove before cooking) any tiny, hard stone like particles; quinoa, millet and amaranth are the worst culprits. Pour onto flat surface such as flexible cutting board or a plate and sort with your fingers; excellent project when cooking with kids.
- Washing: Not all grains need to be washed, however if there is any chaff, dust, or debris they will need to be removed prior to cooking. Either put them in a pot, fill with water, swirl, rinse, and repeat until the water s clear or place them in a strainer, run warm water over them, and lift with your fingers until the water runs clear. *This is especially important for quinoa due to the saponin coating that can cause an upset stomach or digestive issues.
- Cooking: For the best results use a stainless steel pot with a thick, aluminum core bottom for even heat distribution and a tight-fitting lid. Bring both the grains and water (liquid) to a boil together in the pot; once boiling lower heat and simmer. NOTE: If tough and chewy, you may have boiled them too long. If mushy or clumped, the initial heat may not have been high enough or perhaps you added too much liquid.
- Stirring: Never stir while the grains are cooking. Whole grains are unique in that they arrange themselves so that the bottom layers cook as evenly as the top to create steam holes. By stirring you destroy the steam holes and all of the grains never fully cook.
- Always consult your physician if you have special diet or health related issues.
For additional information, click on any of the following links:
- To learn why quinoa is one of America's leading super foods, click on the link in this sentence.
- For more information on Tips and Tricks for cooking whole grains, click on the link in this sentence.
- For more information on the health benefits of Quinoa, click on the link in this sentence.
For local places to shop for healthy foods, click on any of the following links.
From my home to yours, another favorite recipe - enjoyed with nutrition in mind.