A little history: Quinoa is a grain that has been eaten for thousands of years in Peru, Bolivia, and Chile, and was cultivated by the Incas. They referred to it as the “mother seed”. When the Spanish came in and conquered the Incas, they destroyed the fields and forbid the growing of quinoa. Luckily, the species was not completely destroyed by any means. In the eighties, a few guys realized how freakin’ awesome quinoa was and started growing it in Colorado. Since then, it’s really taken off in the U.S. (See Whole Foods)
There are several variations of quinoa, the most popular being white quinoa and red quinoa. There is no nutritional difference between the two.
I really love quinoa and probably eat it at least 3 times a week. Its super high in amino acids and has lots of vits (for a full nutritional analysis see Quinoa Nutrition). I find that cooking a bunch at the beginning of the week and keeping it in the fridge for quick easy meals is really convenient. I just take some out and sauté it with a little olive oil or butter and seasoning.
Cooking: A lot of quinoa recipes will tell you to do 1 part quinoa/3 parts water. DON’T! It will get mushy. Bleh. I use 1 part quinoa/2 parts water. Bring it to a boil and then turn it down. Simmer until water is absorbed. You can add in any savory seasonings, or even eat it sweet for breakfast! The possibilities are endless.
Here are a few quick and easy ideas for quinoa:
- Sauté veggies of your choice with olive oil or butter and then add cooked quinoa. Heat through.
- Cook with half almond milk/half water, sweeten with Agave or honey to taste. Sprinkle with cinnamon. Add berries or nuts.
- After quinoa is done cooking, stir in some feta cheese crumbles. Cover for a few minutes just to let the quinoa absorb the feta taste.
- Instead of using oil or butter, heat quinoa with a few tbsp of salsa
- Thicken soups with it!
- Use in place of rice in recipes
Here is one of my favorite quinoa recipes:
As this blog progresses, there will be many more quinoa recipes to come!
If you haven’t tried quinoa, you really should. It tastes great, has tons of health benefits, and is just another healthy grain to add to your diet. Go ahead, change it up! Try some quinoa. You know you want to.