Quinoa

Quinoa is a nutritious food that has been around for thousands of years. It is often used as a substitute for grains, but it is actually a seed. It has gained popularity in recent years, particularly for those following gluten free or vegetarian diets.

Why quinoa?

  • It is a great source of protein. One cup of cooked quinoa contains about 220 calories and 8 grams of protein.
  • It contains 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
  • It has the highest potassium content of all whole grains, containing over 300mg per 1 cup cooked.
  • It is cholesterol free and low-fat.
  • It is a good source of fiber, which helps slow the rise of blood glucose and keeps you feeling fuller longer.
  • It is a good source of iron and magnesium.
  • It is gluten free, and easy to digest.

Varieties

Although there are many varieties of quinoa, there are two commonly found in the United States:

  • Traditional — pale ivory in color, found in most grocery stores, stronger flavor.
  • Inca Red — dark red in color, found in specialty or natural food stores, higher in protein, calcium, and iron.
Photo: Quinoa

How do I use it?

  • Quinoa can be cooked just like rice, and substituted for rice, pasta, or even cereal!
  • Rinse quinoa first to remove its bitter coating, unless the package states this has already been done.
  • Toasting quinoa in a dry pan before cooking adds a great nutty flavor.