Quinoa: It's What's for Dinner

Quinoa: It's What's for Dinner

The Food and Agricultural Organization of the UN declared 2013 "The International Year of Quinoa". We expect 2014 to be as well, and for good reason. Quinoa is easily prepared, has high nutritional value, and tastes great. Plus it's very easy to grow, which means it will play an important role in food security in developing countries. Quinoa has only started to gain popularity in the United States, but unlike other fads, this one should not be dismissed.

Health Benefits

Quinoa often plays the role of a carbohydrate in meals - as a substitute for bread, pasta, or rice. However, this is an unfair comparison to quinoa. In fact, its nutrient value far surpasses these other carbohydrate sources. Foods like bread, pasta, and rice might be considered "empty calories" or "empty carbs". They are rich in energy from carbohydrates, but do not contain many other nutrients. Quinoa stands in striking contrast. Unlike these other foods, quinoa is a complete protein source. This makes it especially valuable to vegetarians. Quinoa also contains healthy fats: oleic acid, which is a heart-healthy unsaturated fat, as well as omega-3, which has anti-inflammatory and pro-cognitive properties. So quinoa actually has a balanced macronutrient profile, unlike the carb-heavy side dishes like bread and rice.

Selecting, Storing, and Preparing

Due to its rising popularity, most supermarkets have quinoa. You should have no problem finding it. We recommend buying it in bulk. The bin it's in should be covered to ensure freshness. Make sure that the quinoa is 100% dry. Store quinoa in an airtight container. Plastic bags will rip easily and the last thing you want is a few hundred grains of quinoa scattered on your kitchen floor. Many people like to rinse their quinoa thoroughly before cooking it. This removes saponins, which are responsible for quinoa's bitter taste.

 

Preparation is a breeze. Simply mix 1 part grain, 2 parts water in a saucepan, bring to a boil, cover, and simmer for about 15 minutes or until all the water is absorbed. Here's a great recipe that uses quinoa in a very creative way.

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

This quinoa salad recipe gets its zest from the salad dressing, which is made out of lemons and limes, olive oil, and dijon mustard.

See full recipe.


CATEGORIES: Protein, Recipes, Nutrient, Healthy Foods, Healthy Fats , Omega-3, Vegetarian