Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a gluten-free grain that comes from the Andes Mountains of South America. The Inca civilization considered this one of their staple foods, besides corn and potatoes. It is considered an ancient super-grain delivering many nutritional benefits.
Quinoa is the one and only high protein grain, averaging 16.2% compared to rice which contains 7.5%, millet 9.9%, and wheat 14%. There are other varieties of quinoa that contain 20% or more of protein. The super-grain’s protein is of high quality, delivering a complete protein because it is rich in 9 essential amino acids, containing lysine, methinonin and cystine which are typically low in other grains. It also provides oils high in essential linoleic acid, fiber, minerals (calcium and iron), starch, sugars, and vitamins (E and B’s) and is low in sodium.
Quinoa is quick and easy to prepare, resembling tiny sprouted seeds. Once rinsed to remove a bitter tasting powdery residue , it cooks in 15 minutes. It tastes light and fluffy and is easy to digest. You can substitute it for other grains in any recipe or you can mix it with other grains to bring in the healthy benefits of this super-grain. You can enjoy eating quinoa for breakfast, lunch or dinner. Consider getting your protein intake with quinoa, a vegetarian meat (vegan) substitute that any vegetarian kid or adult would enjoy. Use it in any of your healthy vegetarian recipes to boost protein and other nutritional benefits. This grain can be eaten hot, warm or cold, as an oatmeal alternative, a base for a grain salad, or in place of a side of rice for dinner. The white variety is most common, but it also comes in red and black.
This relative of the beet, spinach and Swiss chard family is gluten-free and easy to digest. It is also a nutritious superfood high in magnesium, iron, copper, phosphorous, vitamin B2 and other essential minerals.
Quinoa can be found in most grocery and natural food stores.