What is Quinoa?
Pronounced Keen-Wah or the Spanish derivation is pronounced kee-NO-ah. The superfood originiated almost 4,000 years ago, when it was first used for consumption in the Andean region of Bolivia, Peru and Colombia. This grain-like seed served as a staple food in the Incan diet, leading the Incas to call it the “mother grain”.
With only 222 calories per serving and only 4 grams of unsaturated fat, quinoa meets the low cal, low fat definition of a superfood, but does it offer many benefits for the body? The total content of protein is 15%, more than double the amount found in most standard grains. Studies have revealed that quinoa have a complete amino acid profile, meaning that with each serving, you’re giving your body all of the nine key building blocks for making protein.
Studies have found that whole grain properties act as a natural appetite suppressor helping you to eat less throughout the day. Researcher also found it is a good source of free phenols, which destroy free radicals in the bloodstream. As a result, quinoa can help decrease the risk of cancer, slow down the aging process, and delay the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles.
How to Cook Quinoa
When cooked the flavor and texture profile is very similar to rice. It is also cooked the same way.
Rinse 1 cup of quinoa a fine mesh sieve until water runs clear, drain and transfer to a medium pot. Add 2 cups water and salt and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to medium low and simmer until water is absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. When cooked, the germ will separate from the seed and look like a little tail revealing the germ of the kernel. Set aside off the heat for 5 minutes; uncover and fluff with a fork.
Experiment with your cooking. You may use quinoa as a substitute for any recipe that calls for rice. Use chicken or vegetable broth for more flavor. Add Kidney or Black Beans. I have even added chili seasoning to make a wonderful vegan chili. With the light flavor and versatility of this great super food the recipe possibilities are virtually endless.