Quinoa has grown in popularity in the past few years as a “super food” and a building block for gluten-free eating. But, did you know that it’s been around for thousands of years?
That’s right! It was used by the Incas over 5,000 years ago! Now it’s making a “superfood” name for itself again as a staple in pantries and meals everywhere. The Whole Foods Blog had this to say about our little grain, “Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has all the goodness of whole grains — the B vitamins, the fiber, the minerals — and it’s actually a small dried seed that’s been cultivated for thousands of years in South America. This little powerhouse has the highest protein content of any other grain. And since it contains all eight essential amino acids, quinoa is considered a complete protein.”
Forbs published an article on the 7 Health Benefits of Quinoa , which stated that Quinoa is not only one of the most protein-rich foods we can eat but it is a complete protein containing all nine essential amino acids. Spoiler alert, it also contains almost twice as much fiber as other grains…think feeling fuller longer! It also contains iron which supports increased Brain function, regulation of body temperature, enzyme activity and energy metabolism. Quinoa also packs Lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair, and magnesium that helps to relax blood vessels and thereby to alleviate migraines. Other health benefits of magnesium include transmission of nerve impulses, body temperature regulation, detoxification, energy production, and the formation of healthy bones and teeth. It also packs Riboflavin (B2) for improved energy metabolism within brain and muscle cells and manganese, which is an antioxidant that helps to prevent damage of mitochondria during energy production as well as to protect red blood cells and other cells from injury by free radicals.
Quinoa is a pretty amazing kitchen staple, and can be used in many dishes as a main protein source, side dish or substitute for rice, potatoes or even pasta. You can cook the quinoa according to the package instructions, OR you can liven up your meal and add another layer of amazing dynamic flavor punch! Yep, I said flavor punch! Toasting quinoa before cooking opens up the nutty, toasted and almost smoky flavor. Cook up a batch to use during the week for quick dinners or add to salads for lunch. You can even cook quinoa for breakfast!
What is YOUR favorite quinoa recipe?
1/2 c quinoa
1 c water or chicken broth
Salt and Pepper to taste
- Pour quinoa into pot on stove top over medium/high heat
- Toast until it starts to pop, like popcorn and the outer shells turn a light to dark brown
- Rinse the quinoa in a strainer under cold water and return to pot (always rinse your quinoa, like you would rice)
- Add water to the pot and bring to a boil, continuously stirring
- Reduce to a simmer and cover for 10 minutes then “fluff” with a fork or spatula and serve