For most American’s Quinoa is a new food. However, South American’s have been cooking this “superfood” quinoa for centuries.
But first, how do you pronounce it? The correct way to say it is “KEEN-wah”.
Quinoa is high in protein and a good source of calcium, iron, antioxidants, vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. Named a superfood by the United Nations for its high-protein nutritional profile, quinoa is a good source of vitamin E and several B vitamins, calcium, iron and antioxidants.
By the looks of it, you may think quinoa was a grain, like rice. However, quinoa is a pseudograin. Rather, it is a seed that is harvested from a plant called goosefoot. Beets, spinach, and Swiss chard are all relatives of quinoa.
The protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 9 essential amino acids. (Essential amino acids can’t be produced in your body so you must consume them through food or supplement.) The seeds are gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity.
1/3 cup of cooked quinoa:
2.5 grams of fat
3 grams of fiber
6 grams of protein
How to Store
Store uncooked quinoa in an air-tight container in your pantry. You can also freeze uncooked quinoa to maintain freshness for a longer period of time.
How to Cook
Quinoa is simple and easy to prepare, like rice. You can prepare quinoa on the stove top, microwave, rice cooker, or pressure cooker. Of note: quinoa triples in volume once cooked.
- Rinse the grains well under running water in a fine-meshed sieve to remove any traces of their bitter-tasting coating. (Quinoa seeds are covered in saponin, a substance that naturally protects it from insects and pests and makes it easier to grow organically. Always rinse before cooking.)
- Measure 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid, either water, stock or broth of your choice.
Stovetop: Bring to a water and quinoa to a boil; simmer about 15 minutes.
Rice Cooker: Turn on to the white rice setting. Let rest a few minutes after cooking, then fluff with a fork.
Microwave: Cook in a covered bowl on high power for about 6 minutes; stir and scrape down sides of bowl and cook on high power for 2 additional minutes. Keep covered and let rest for 5-10 minutes.
Pressure Cooker: use 1 part quinoa to 1.5 parts liquid. Seal the lid and press the RICE button, or manually set it to cook for 12 minutes on low pressure, or follow manufacturer’s instructions. Release the pressure following manufacturer’s instructions. Fluff with a fork before serving.
Cooked quinoa looks a bit like couscous, but is more substantial and slightly crunchy. Use quinoa instead of rice, couscous, millet or pasta in almost any meal.
Slow Cooker Chicken Stew
6 bone-in chicken thighs (about 2-1/4 pounds), skin removed
1 large onion, chopped
2 medium carrots, sliced
3/4 cup unsweetened apple juice
1 garlic clove, minced
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pepper
1 cup chopped dried apricots
Hot cooked couscous, quinoa or brown rice
Place all ingredients (except apricots and couscous) in a zipper gallon freezer bag. Seal and freeze.
Cooking Instructions: NEED hot cooked rice, quinoa, or couscous. Place the contents of the freezer bag into a 3 – 4 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook on low for 6-8 hours or until chicken is tender. Remove chicken from slow cooker; shred meat with two forks. Skim fat from cooking juices; stir in apricots. Return shredded chicken to slow cooker; heat though. Serve with cooked couscous, quinoa or brown rice.
Corn Chowder with Quinoa and Red Peppers
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
1 tablespoon butter
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
4 cups vegetable stock
2 cups half and half
1 jar roasted red peppers, drained and chopped
2 (10 ounces) packages frozen corn, thawed
1 can (15 ounces) pinto beans, rinsed and drained
2 tablespoons minced fresh parsley
1/2 teaspoon minced fresh thyme
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
In a Dutch oven, cook and stir quinoa over medium-high heat for 3-5 minutes or until lightly toasted; remove from the pan.
In the same pan, heat butter and oil over medium-high heat. Add onion; cook and stir until tender. Add garlic; cook 1 minute longer. Stir in flour until blended. Gradually whisk in stock and half and half.
Add the corn, beans, roasted peppers and quinoa; bring to a boil, stirring frequently. Reduce heat; simmer, uncovered, for 15-20 minutes or until quinoa is tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in the remaining ingredients.