Quinoa is a seed that is related to beet, chard, and spinach plants. It is considered a grain and a tasty choice for those who follow a wheat or gluten-free diet. It comes in a variety of colors and is a very nutritious food. Quinoa has a slightly nutty flavor and when cooked is fluffy and creamy, but still a little crunchy. Actually, it was quite the staple for South American Native Indians, and the Incas called it the “monster seed.” Also known to give strength and stamina, it was the called “the gold of the Aztecs.”
Quinoa is a great source of magnesium and manganese, plus a good source of the minerals iron, phosphorous, copper and zinc. It also contains B2, vitamin E and fiber. Quinoa has all of the essential amino acids, which makes it an excellent source of protein.
Easy to prepare, this grain is a tasty accompaniment to any meal. For perfectly cooked quinoa, simply add 1 part grain to 2 parts liquid. Bring the mixture to a boil, then reduce the heat. Cover and let summer for about 15 to 20 minutes. The quinoa should look translucent at the end of the cooking process. You can dress it up any way you like. Here are some quick serving ideas to try.
- Combine 1 or 2 cups of cooked, chilled quinoa with one can of pinto beans, ½ cup pumpkin seeds, 2 minced scallions. Add olive oil and season with salt and pepper to taste. This makes a great fajita filling!
- Add nuts and fruit for a post-workout snack or healthy breakfast.
- Add quinoa to muffins or cookies to amp up the nutritional value of these treats.
Have you tried quinoa? What is your favorite way to prepare it?