It seems the quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) has become increasingly popular these days. I was talking about it in a class last year, and said “I have such a good quinoa curry waiting for me at home!” and was met with blank stares from most of my classmates, and his remark: “Now there’s a sentence you didn’t hear three years ago…” In vegan/vegetarian circles, however, it’s quite a staple. But what IS it??
Webster says: an annual herb (Chenopodium quinoa) of the goosefoot family that is native to the Andean highlands and is cultivated for its starchy seeds which are used as food and ground into flour; also : its seeds
Seeds are a wonder. Think about it: all plant life began as a teeny, tiny seed, and look at all the plants on the planet! Think of all of the life-generating potential in each of those cute little quinoa seeds! Why not eat ’em up, and let all that potential nourish your body and make some new full-of-life cells and then just BE full of life?!?!
The facts are these:
- The seed is the part we eat commonly.
- It can be ground into flour and made into pasta. (in fact, you can do this yourself! Look here!)
- You can buy it in BULK (and I do) and it’s cheaper!
- It’s gluten-free
- It takes just 10-15 minutes to cook
- You can get black quinoa, red quinoa, white quinoa
- It is a great source of complete protein (8 grams in 1/4 cup)
- It’s got all these good things in it: “The list of anti-inflammatory phytonutrients in quinoa is now known to include: polysaccharides like arabinans and rhamnogalacturonans; hydroxycinnamic and hydroxybenzoic acids; flavonoids like quercetin and kaempferol; and saponins including molecules derived from oleanic acid, hederagenin and serjanic acid. Small amounts of the anti-inflammatory omega-3 fatty acid, alpha-linolenic acid (ALA), are also provided by quinoa.” (whfoods)
- The cooking process does not greatly diminish the nutritional benefit
- “As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds.” (ha ha, thank you Wikipedia)
So, next time you’re walking around the health food store and run across this gem, pick it up, take it home, and do some experimenting! I like to cook it with veggie broth and eat it with lightly sautéed kale and asparagus! Or try it in a recipe instead of cous cous or rice!
What’s your favorite thing to do with quinoa? If it’s new to you, do you think you’ll give it a whirl?
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