If you haven’t tried quinoa yet, you’re really missing out. I’ve heard from people that they bought it, and it’s sitting unopened in their pantry because they just don’t know what to do with it.
What’s So Great About Quinoa, Anyway?
If you’re wondering if it’s a grain or a seed, it’s a seed. It’s often mistaken for a grain because of the way it’s prepared. It comes in lots of varieties, but the most common are white, red, and black.
Quinoa (pronounced “keen wah”) is a complete protein. This means it has all nine essential amino acids. That’s great for vegetarians and others who just want a good source of protein that isn’t meat.
It is also high in fiber, which is good since many people don’t get enough fiber each day. Fiber helps keep things moving, so if you have trouble in that area, or just want to keep things moving, it’s another reason to eat quinoa.
Along with being an excellent source of protein and fiber, quinoa has important vitamins and minerals, including B vitamins, vitamin E, iron, manganese, calcium, magnesium, zinc, selenium, copper, potassium, and phosphorus. It also has healthy fats.
A bonus for those who are gluten free, is that quinoa doesn’t contain any gluten.
Let’s Get Cooking
When I first tried quinoa years ago, I didn’tcook it properly. I didn’t rinse it first, didn’t use enough water, and ended up overcooking it. What I didn’t know was that quinoa has saponins which make it taste bitter if not rinsed off. Put the quinoa in a mesh strainer and run it under water while rubbing it together.
If you put a cup of dry quinoa in your measuring cup, you want to add two cups of water to your pot. Whatever amount of quinoa you use, double the amount of water. Bring it to a boil and then cover the pot and reduce the heat to low. Let it simmer for 12 to 15 minutes, until the water is absorbed. You will end up with a lot more cooked quinoa than you started out with dry.
Nine of the Countless Ways to Use it
Once quinoa is cooked, there are many things you can do with it. Here are nine quick and easy ways you can enjoy it:
• Add grape tomatoes and basil for a tasty side dish (pictured above)
• Use quinoa in place of rice in stir fry recipes
• Put quinoa in chili recipes
• Add chickpeas and vegetables to it
• Put it on salads to make them even healthier
• Mix it with some berries, cinnamon, nutmeg, and milk alternative to make a yummy breakfast bowl
• Add quinoa to smoothies
• Combine quinoa, diced red bell pepper, onion, olive oil, and dried basil and put it in a large lettuce leaf for a healthy wrap
• Add quinoa to your soup recipes
So now that you know how to properly cook quinoa and have some ideas of what to do with it, how are you going to incorporate it into your diet?
If quinoa is already part of your diet, how do you use it? Let me know in the comments.