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Spotlight on Quinoa

The Quinoa Craze

The Quinoa Craze

Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a high protein, gluten-free grain-like crop that is light and fluffy when cooked. It is highly nutritious, containing all 9 essential amino acids and many antioxidant, anti-inflammatory phytonutrients. Quinoa is a good source of manganese, tryptophan, magnesium, phosphorus, fiber, folate, and copper. Because of this, including quinoa in your diet can help to decrease inflammation, fight migraines, increase your energy, and reduce the risk of heart disease and stroke. In addition, quinoa is rich in complex carbohydrates, so substituting this grain for another simple carbohydrate like white rice or pasta will leave you feeling satiated longer and keep your blood sugar levels stable.

Although quinoa is an edible seed in the same family as beets, spinach and swiss chard, it is eaten like cereal grains (rice, barley, wheat, and rye). Therefore it is often referred to as a “pseudograin.”  Quinoa originates from South America, where they have been eating it since approximately 3000 B.C. It has recently become a common food in America and can be found at most grocery stores, including Trader Joe’s, Whole Foods, Meijer, and Costco. There are many varieties of quinoa and it comes in several different colors, including white, black, and red.

In my house, we often cook a big pot of quinoa over the weekend and have it throughout the week in various dishes. You can use it as a breakfast cereal, add it into smoothies or salads, eat it with roasted vegetables, or use it in veggie burgers. Below are a few of our favorite quinoa recipes.

LEMON GINGER QUINOA

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil

1 small carrot, grated

1-inch piece of ginger, grated or 1 tsp ground ginger

1 small onion, minced

2 large garlic cloves, minced

2 cups quinoa

3 ⅓ cups water

½ teaspoon sea salt

½ teaspoon black pepper

½ lemon, juiced

Sauté the vegetables. Add extra virgin olive oil to a large sauce pan over medium heat. When the pan is hot, add carrot, ginger, onion and garlic. Sauté for about 2 to 3 minutes.

Add the quinoa. After sautéing the vegetables, add quinoa, water, sea salt, and black pepper. Stir and allow the quinoa to steam (with the lid on) for about 20 minutes on low heat. The quinoa is done when the water is absorbed. Turn off the flame and fluff the quinoa with a fork. Add lemon juice. Cover and allow the quinoa to absorb the lemon juice.

Serving suggestions. This quinoa can be served with a variety of stir-fried vegetables, including cabbage, kale, broccoli, etc.

 QUINOA BREAKFAST BOWL

½ cup cooked quinoa (follow package directions ahead of time)
⅛ cup pumpkin seeds
4 tablespoons flax meal
½ cup almond milk
honey, to taste

Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Serve warm. Serves 1-2.


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