Quinoa: The New Superfood!

Quinoa is a relatively unknown grain, and one that you should get to know! Quinoa was developed in the Andes region of South America and cultivated by the Incas who called it their “mother seed” or “mother grain” 5,000-6,000 years ago. Quinoa is extremely rich in nutrients and truly a “superfood” that I recommend everyone should add to their diet!

Quinoa is a grain with a delicious nutty flavor that looks and has a consistency very similar to rice. Quinoa is gluten-free and has the highest nutritional value of all the grains containing all 8 amino acids (making it a complete protein like eggs, meat and dairy.) It is also very high in protein (equal to milk and twice that of other cereal grains), vitamin B and E, iron, zinc, potassium, and calcium.

Additionally it has a very fast cooking time of 20 minutes (compared to 50 minutes for rice.) Quinoa can be cooked in large batches and stored in the freezer to use when needed. My children (and my husband and I) absolutely adore it!

Quinoa can be eaten as a breakfast, lunch or dinner food! It can be used as a main course or as a side dish to complement your main course. To learn more, please read my article, Complex Carbohydrates Are Not the Enemyabout the nutritional value and importance of adding complex carbohydrates to your diet.

Below are a few recipes to get you started:

Hot Quinoa “Oatmeal”

1 cup cooked quinoa
2 cups water
½ cup rice, soy or almond milk
Honey or agave nectar
¼ cup blueberries
¼ cup pecans (or walnuts)

Pour 1 cup of quinoa into 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and allow to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes until all of the water is absorbed. Add milk and continue stirring. Spoon cereal into bowls, add a squeeze of honey or agave, and top with fresh blueberries and a handful of pecans or your other favorite nuts and enjoy!

Quinoa, Cranberry and Pecan Salad

2 cups quinoa
4 cups water
1 lemon
½ cup olive oil
Sesame oil (drizzle)
1 cup chopped parsley
1 cup chopped scallions
1 chopped red and yellow pepper
½ cup cranberries
½ cup chopped pecans
Salt and pepper to taste

Pour 2 cups of quinoa into 4 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and allow to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes until all of the water is absorbed. Combine all of the remaining ingredients into the bowl and stir well. This salad can be served room temperature on or aside a simple green salad for a healthy lunch or it can be served alongside a main course for a more substantial dinner.

Quinoa “Rice Pudding”

1 cup quinoa
2 cups water
½ cup rice, soy or almond milk
½ cup raisons or cranberries
1 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon and nutmeg (to taste)
1 tbsp honey or agave nectar

Pour 1 cup of quinoa into 2 cups of water and bring to a boil. Cover and allow to simmer on low heat for 20 minutes until all of the water is absorbed. Add milk, vanilla, spices, agave or honey and raisons and continue stirring until dried fruit is soft. This is a delicious and healthy dessert and one that my kids love.

As a side note, this dish can also be made with brown rice or any other grain you have cooked and have on hand.

Quinoa and Apple Stuffed Acorn Squash

2 acorn squash
2 coursely chopped apples and/or peaches
2 cups cooked quinoa
1/4 cup maple syrup
2 tbsp olive oil
1/2 tsp cinnamon & nutmeg
Lemon

Preheat over to 350 degrees. Halve acorn squash and remove the seeds. In a small bowl combine the olive oil, nutmeg and cinnamon and brush mixture on tops and insides of acorn squash. Bake in the oven for 35 minutes or until done.

At same time, cook 2 cups of quinoa in 4 cups of water. Bring to a boil then cover and simmer for 20 minutes until water is absorbed. In a bowl, mix the cooked quinoa, apples and/or peaches, maple syrup, squeeze of lemon and a dash of cinnamon and nutmeg.

Fill the squash with the mixture and cook for an additional 20-30 minutes until done. This is a delicious side dish for the holidays or a meal into itself!

1 Comment

  • Mathew
    July 31st, 2014 at 7:38 am

    .

    ñïàñèáî!…



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