Always on a quest to find the healthiest foods I can find, I kept running across recipes with quinoa. I had no idea what quinoa was but I was intrigued enough to try it. I was a little nervous about trying it (as was my family), but we loved it! It is so easy to prepare and can be used for so many different things.
What is Quinoa? Quinoa is a nutritional supergrain! This protein-packed, complex carbohydrate grain has a slightly nutty flavor and is very filling. The seeds are easy to prepare and can be easily served in various recipes instead of rice, corn, wheat, or other grains. The uses of quinoa are virtually endless. Although it looks like a tiny seed, when cooked, it is light and fluffy. One cup of quinoa has an amazing 9 grams of protein, compared with 6 grams of protein found in an egg.
What are the benefits of quinoa? Quinoa is a low-cholesterol complex carbohydrate. With its high fiber content, it is digested slowly and does not negatively affect blood sugar (perfect for diabetics). Quinoa is also gluten-free and can be used in place of wheat for many with digestive disorders. Quinoa functions as a prebiotic that aids the intestines in processing food and helps the body absorb more nutrients. Quinoa is an ideal choice for anyone wanting to eat real food or to lose weight. I could go on and on about the benefits but I think you get the point!
Where can I find quinoa? Quinoa is available in just about any grocery store or health food store. Usually, it is found near the flour and sugar area of the store. Some health food stores sell quinoa in bulk. The good news is that a little quinoa goes a long way and is extremely versatile.
How do I prepare quinoa? Quinoa is super easy and quick to prepare. You first rinse off the seeds (I use a strainer to do this) and then combine 1 cup of quinoa with 1.5 cups water or broth and cook. The quinoa is done when most of the water has been absorbed (usually around 20 minutes). After that, you can use the quinoa in any way that you would use rice or any other grains. There are tons of recipes available for using quinoa. One of my favorite vegetarian meals is below:
Quinoa with sautéed veggies
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and cooked
1 medium zucchini, sliced or cubed
1 medium squash, sliced or cubed
1 small onion (red or yellow)
2 cloves of garlic, chopped
8 oz mushrooms
1 cup corn, fresh or frozen
1 can of black beans
Cook quinoa in water or broth according to package directions. Meanwhile, sautee zucchini, squash, onion, garlic, corn and mushrooms in a extra virgin olive oil. In a separate pan, heat black beans. When quinoa is done, combine with vegetables and black beans and serve. For non-vegetarians, you can also a chicken breast for a little extra protein.