Quinoa-The Mother of Grains

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By Carol DiPirro • December 14th, 2009 • 10326 Views

Quinoa-The Mother of Grains

An ancient food that is not yet well known in North America, Quinoa (pronounced Keen-wah) has been cultivated in the South American Andes since at least 3,000 B.C. and has been a staple food of millions of native inhabitants.

The quinoa seed is high in protein, calcium and iron, a good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans. The protein in quinoa is a 'complete' protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids. Quinoa is 12% to 18% protein and four ounces a day, about 1/2-cup, will provide a childs protein needs for one day. The 6-7% fat of quinoa is relatively high when compared to other grains, but it boasts a low sodium content and also provides valuable starch and easily digestible fiber. The seeds are also gluten-free which makes this a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity. Quinoa would be a worthy addition to anyone's diet, supplying variety as well as good nutrition.

Cooked quinoa is excellent in hot casseroles and soups, stews, in stir-fries, or cold in salads. The seeds cook very quickly, in only 15 minutes. Uncooked seeds may be added to soups and stews as you would barley or rice and quinoa is often substituted for rice in rice dishes.

Quinoa seeds can be sprouted and eaten as raw for snacks or in salads and sandwiches. To sprout the seeds, soak about 1/3 cup seeds in a jar for 2 to 4 hours, then drain and rinse the seeds twice a day for 2 to 4 days. When the sprouts are about 1 inch long, place them near a window for chlorophyll to develop, which will give them a vibrant green color.

Try this recipe on a cold winter evening. Paired with a fresh spinach salad, it will soothe you in a way only Mom's mac and cheese did when you were a kid. Enjoy!...

Carol DiPirro

Location:  New York, US

Carol has been passionate about cooking, nutrition and healthy eating since she was a child, baking her first eggless cake from scratch at 8 yrs old. Growing up in an Italian family, clean healthy eating was...