|Red quinoa is slightly crunchier than the standard cream coloured |
quinoa and has a bit more of a bitter flavour.
Quinoa, while most commonly considered a grain, is actually a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard (bonus: it's gluten-free!). A rediscovered ancient “grain” native to South America, quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa’s amino acid profile well balanced, making it a great choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. Eating quinoa has a range of other health benefits. As a good source of manganese, as well as magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorus, quinoa may be especially beneficial for people who suffer from migraine headaches, diabetes, and atherosclerosis.
With its mild, nutty flavour, quinoa is as versatile as rice, but packs that extra punch with its high protein content and loads of other nutrients. It can be prepared like rice and it only takes about 15 minutes to cook. What's not to like?
I'll serve quinoa with dinner about once a week for R and I--since we're both very active people, we love having quinoa after a particularly hard workout. It's a great way to get some protein, in addition to some other lean protein source of course.
Try This: quinoa with toasted raw sunflower seeds, fresh cilantro, and lemon juice
Quinoa is also fantastic as left overs. Just add some your favourite chopped veggies, fresh herbs, and season with olive oil, lemon juice, salt and pepper, and voila! Quinoa salad. For even more flavour and/or extra protein, try adding any of low-fat feta cheese, black beans, or my personal favourite, avocado.
Finally: quinoa as a breakfast food. Not going to lie, it took me a few attempts to actually like this one, but trust me--it works. It's not weird at all. Just think of quinoa like you would your morning oatmeal, and the possibilities are endless!
Sarah Britton over at My New Roots shares a recipe that combines quinoa and millet. With a few tweaks, I tested her recipe--and let me tell you: de-licious. It's just the right amount of sweetness and spice. Definitely a keeper in my books.
If you've ever had quinoa as a savory dish, I can understand why this whole quinoa-as-an-oatmeal-substitute might sound a little ick, but also true: you won't know until you try.
So go get yourself some quinoa--most big chain grocery stores sell it, but you can always shop at your local health food store--have a quinoa cooking party, and tell me what you think!