All hail to the delicious and mighty quinoa...a personal favourite! It's pronounced KEEN-wah not kin-wa, kin-woo, or kwin-o-ahh...it's KEEN-wah. :)
Quinoa was first cultivated over 5,000 years ago by the Incas and it was known as a "super grain." Although quinoa is usually referred to as a grain, it is actually a seed and it's more closely related to vegetables such as beets, spinach and swiss chard.
It is SOOO important to rinse quinoa thoroughly before cooking. It is covered in saponins (soaplike coating) that protects the seeds from insects and bacteria. Trust me you want to rinse this off. In South America, they use the saponins rinsed from the quinoa, as a detergent to wash clothes.
I have had a lot of conversations about quinoa with people that just won't give it a chance. When I was in England last summer, a lot of my family hadn't even heard of quinoa. Okay, let's pause so I can LOL for a moment. Hehe, I'm done now. If you try a tasty quinoa recipe filled with lots of flavours, I promise you won't regret it. It's a great substitute for those high-carbohydrate choices like rice, pastas and roti (for Indians)...just to name a few.
As always, I have to tell you about some of the amazing health benefits of quinoa:
quinoa is a complete protein and this means it contains a balance of all 9 essential amino acids. it's a great protein source for vegetarians/vegans as it's often hard to find complete protein plant sources.
Quinoa is naturally gluten-free and a great choice for those adhering to a gluten-free diet.
Quinoa is nutrient rich and it contains iron, B-vitamins, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, calcium, and vitamin e.
quinoa is high in fiber and fiber plays a role in lowering cholesterol levels, promoting a healthy gut (good for digestion) and regulating blood sugar levels (good for diabetics).
Quinoa is a staple in our house and I have lots of amazing recipes to share. I'm going to start with my rainbow quinoa salad recipe but stay tuned for more! I also love baking with quinoa flour...it's delicious!
Rainbow Quinoa Salad Recipe
Serves: 3-4 Time: 45 minutes
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 cups water
- 1/2 red/orange pepper, chopped
- 1/2 green pepper, chopped
- 1/4 red onion, chopped
- 1 tomato, chopped or large handful of cherry tomatoes cut in half
- 1/4 cup pumpkin seeds
- 1/4 cup olive oil
- 3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
- 1 tablespoon fresh basil, chopped
- 1/2 teaspoon fine sea salt or himalayan pink salt
- 1/2 teaspoon black pepper or to taste
- 1/4 cup chopped grana padano cheese *optional
1. Thoroughly rinse quinoa prior to cooking, as it has a saponin (soaplike) coating that must be washed off. Rinse in cold water for several minutes. When cooking, remember that for every cup of quinoa, it's double the water. 1 cup quinoa = 2 cups water
2. Bring quinoa and water to a boil in a pot. Once boiling, reduce heat to simmer and cover pot until quinoa is tender and water has been absorbed. This usually takes about 15 minutes or so. Set aside to cool. When making quinoa salad, I usually make my quinoa at least an hour in advance so it gives it ample time to cool down.
3. Once quinoa has cooled, mix in peppers, onion, tomato, basil and cheese (if using). Stir and then add in olive oil, balsamic vingegar, sea salt and black pepper. Mix salad thoroughly and sprinkle with pumpkin seeds.
4. Serve immediately or chill in fridge until ready to serve.