Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Quinoa, The Wonder Grain

Quinoa, which I recently learned is pronounced "keen-wah", is a grain recently introduced to me by my sister with the PhD., and I am in love with it. The following is a paragraph taken from All About Quinoa...

"The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. It is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains. It is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine. The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Some types of wheat come close to matching quinoa's protein content, but grains such as barley, corn, and rice generally have less than half the protein of quinoa. Quinoa is 12% to 18% protein and four ounces a day, about 1/2-cup, will provide a childs protein needs for one day. The 6-7% fat of quinoa is relatively high when compared to other grains, but it boasts a low sodium content and also provides valuable starch and fiber. Quinoa also contains albumen, a protein that is found in egg whites, blood serum, and many plant and animal tissues. The seeds are gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity. Quinoa would be a worthy addition to anyone's diet, supplying variety as well as good nutrition."

Because I am striving to maintain a vegetarian kitchen, this is such a great option for our family, as it is a complete protein. Here's how to make and use quinoa...

Step 1: Rinse the quinoa in a strainer, as it is coated with a naturally occurring, bitter substance, which protects the grain from insects...

Step 2: Place one part quinoa and 2 parts water in a pot and boil, then simmer for ten minutes, uncovered. It should look like this after about 5 minutes...

....and like this when it is finished...

So far, we've eaten this two oatmeal, with a little salt, butter and sugar, and as a side dish, with teriyaki sauce and canned veggies, which was super-easy...

There are thousands of ways to use quinoa, such as in salads, ground into flour, in waffles, more side dishes, as a rice substitute, etc. Just scour the internet and see what you can come up with. If you've used quinoa before, I'd love it if you left a comment and told us how! Thanks for listening!


  1. I LOVE Quinoa!!! You can find this in a 4 pound bag for under $11 at Costco! Love it! I combine this with peaches and Greek yogurt (and sometimes almonds) for breakfast. Yum!

  2. I looove quinoa. I most often eat it cold as a sort of salad with some rice vinegar, lemon juice, feta cheese, cilantro, basil and chopped veggies. Theres so much you can do with it.

  3. My kids love quinoa pesto--which is just cooked quinoa with any pesto I have around. They gobble it up.
    Links to two great quinoa salads:

  4. I, too, recently learned about quinoa. It is awesome. We love this salad....

    I've done it with black eyed peas and that was tasty, too. We leave the cheese off and just top with Herdez salsa(just saw on another post that you love Herdez, too!). Oh, and we omit the cilantro since we aren't beg fans.

  5. Ooops....that is big fans, not beg fans. :-)

  6. I've recently gone to a wholegrain, plant-based diet and quinoa has become my great sub for meat. I've had it cold with chopped apples, walnuts and sliced grapes, cinnamon, a bit of honey or agave nectar and a splash of almond milk; made a vegetable soup and added cooked quinoa straight from the frig to my bowl; added cooked quinoa to fruit smoothies; used it in tabbouleh; mixed it with vegetables sauteed in tamari soy sauce - all of which were delicious! I'm to the point of keeping a batch of cooked quinoa at hand in the frig, just in case. I'd like to know how to make flour from it. Anybody?

    1. Jane, I simply put the dry grain in a grain grinder and add the flour to whole grain bread recipes. Thank you for all of your great ideas on how to use quinoa! :)