Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) is a fully flavorful, highly nutritious seed that’s incredibly versatile to use and easy to cook. Now, before you say “Keen-what”, I know it sounds different, and it’s actually something that’s somewhat new to me. My favorite variety is red quinoa because of its slightly sweet, nutty flavor. But quinoa of any color tastes great and has excellent texture – smooth on the inside with a great mouth pop to it when you first bite on it. And then there’s the incredible nutritional value, which is even more remarkable when you consider the tiny natural package it comes in.
Here are a few things I’ve learned about quinoa. First, quinoa isn’t a grain because it’s not the seed of grass family plant like wheat, oat or barley. Instead, quinoa is the seed of the goosefoot plant. Goosefoot, which gets its name from the shape of its leaves, is a relative of spinach and Swiss chard. Quinoa grows in the South American Andes Mountains, mostly in Chile, Peru and Boliva, where it has been cultivated for over 5000 years. Incan armies sustained themselves on long marches by eating quinoa mixed with fat that they called “war balls”. EMMMMM…
As you’d probably expect from a relative of spinach and Swiss chard, both exceptionally nutritious leafy greens, quinoa packs a potent nutritional punch. It’s a great source of protein as it contains all the essential amino acids that make up proteins including lysine, which is necessary for tissue growth & repair. It has about twice the protein content of barley, corn & rice. Quinoa is gluten-free and is easily absorbed by the body. It’s a good source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper & phosphorous making it particularly noteworthy for people affected by migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis. It’s exceptionally high in dietary fiber, and though it does have some fat to it, all of it is unsaturated “good” fat that includes Omega-3. It delivers about 170 calories per ¼ cup serving, 20 calories of which come from the unsaturated “good” fat just mentioned. And it contains no trans fats, cholesterol or sodium, unless you add salt to cooking like I do - just enough for added flavor.
For a complete, easy to follow step-by-step picture book recipe, just click this link.
Cooking Time: 15-20 minutes
Needed (for 4 or more people)
- 1 Cup Quinoa
- ½ - 1 Teaspoon Salt (optional)
- 1 Tablespoon Butter or Margarine (optional)
- Measuring Cup
- Fine Meshed Strainer
- Medium (3-4 quart) Pot with Top
- Table Knife
1. Measure 1 cup (8 ounces) of quinoa and pour the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer. Rinse with cold tap water while running your fingers through the quinoa seeds. If your quinoa has a sudsy froth to it as you rinse it, keep rinsing until that froth, which has a bitter taste, is washed away. Then pour the rinsed quinoa into a medium sized pot.
2. Measure and add 2 cups (16 ounces) of cold water to the quinoa in the pot.
3. Put the pot on the stove, turn on the burner heat to HIGH, and add a ½ - 1 teaspoon salt and about 1 tablespoon of butter or margarine.
4. Cook until the water comes to a rapid boil. Then turn the burner heat down to LOW or SIMMER, cover the pot with the top and set a timer for 15 minutes.
5. When the timer sounds, check the cooked quinoa for doneness by tipping the pot and checking to make sure that all the water has been absorbed. If, however, all the water is not absorbed, keep cooking the quinoa over low heat with the pot half covered so that steam can escape for another 5-10 minutes.
6. When the quinoa is done, stir and fluff it with a spoon or fork and serve.