Nutritional Information:

Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah – in case you were wondering) is a great place to start in the world of whole grains because of all its yumminess and healthiness!

Sooo, technically, quinoa is a seed and not a grain, but it is usually used as a grain. And it’s an awesome one because it’s full of fiber, protein, and lots of nutritional wizards. Here comes a short lesson on protein: your body uses the parts of a protein to build muscles, collagen, and produce hormones (along with many other functions). There are some of those parts of protein (amino acids) that you need but your body can’t make and so you need to get them from your food. Quinoa is considered a complete protein because it contains all the amino acids you need!! Brilliant!! And a great addition to your diet – especially if you are a vegetarian or vegan. Here are some other highlights of the wonderful things quinoa has to offer:

  • Prevent migraines
  • Promote cardiovascular health
  • Antioxidants that keep your cells (and therefore you) young and healthy
  • Could offer significant protection against breast cancer
  • High in protein (as I mentioned in detail above)
  • Easy to digest and high in fiber so aids in detoxing your body
  • Eating quinoa can lower your risk for type 2 diabetes
  • Boosts your immune system
  • Can help prevent osteoporosis

How to Handle and Prepare:

Quinoa takes a considerably less amount of time to cook than other whole grains. It takes about 15-20 minutes.

I suggest replacing any recipes that call for couscous with quinoa. Couscous is made with flour; it’s technically pasta. I think pasta is ok when you cook it al dente because when it is still firm in the middle it is digested more slowly. But because couscous is so small it cooks through quickly and is also digested (into sugar) very quickly. Quinoa also has much more nutritional wizards than couscous (which is not very nutrient dense)

Quinoa is naturally coated with a bitter substance. Sometimes when you buy it they have pre-rinsed the bitter coating, but check your package to make sure. If it’s not pre-rinsed you just need to give it a good rinse before cooking it.

Cooking quinoa is cinchy, just boil 2 cups of water to every 1 cup of quinoa, add the quinoa, toss on a lid, and cook on a med-low until all the water is absorbed (which should take about 15-20 minutes)

Quinoa comes in a variety of colors including red, black, pink and orange. Generally color in your fruits and veggies indicates extra nutritional wizards. Red for instance has more fiber. White is much more common, you can even find it at Target these days.

 

Recipes with Quinoa:

Swedish Meatballs

Fiesta Stuffed Peppers

Puttanesca Quinoa Frittata

 

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