Okay, so quinoa has become a big obsession of mine. Quinoa….quinoa, quinoa…….quinoa… How I love thee. Let me count the ways…….
(1) It’s a super healthy substitute to grains and noodles and tastes great! There’s a misconception, that quinoa is a grain because it’s typically used in dishes where a grain, like rice or barley would be used. But, it’s actually a seed related to chard and spinach.
(2) Quinoa is a plant-based complete protein which means it contains all 9 essential amino acids. So it’s great for vegans or anyone looking to get more protein in their diet without eating meat.
(3) It’s gluten-free! If you have Celiac disease or a gluten intolerance, quinoa will be a good substitute to barley and other grains with gluten.
(4) Quinoa is cholesterol free, so it’s heart-healthy and better as a side-dish than, say, buttered noodles.
(5) It’s super easy to cook. Cook quinoa like you would cook rice: 1 cup quinoa, 2 cups water, bring to a boil and simmer for 10-15 minutes until water has evaporated, quinoa looks light and fluffy and substantially larger, and the white germ (the spiral tail) partially detaches.
(6) Quinoa is a great source of fiber (though it’s insoluble fiber so if you have colitis or something where insoluble fiber isn’t a friend of yours, quinoa may not be a good choice – this may be the only con to quinoa).
(7) It tastes great! It’s slightly reminiscent of couscous, slightly nutty in flavor and slightly crunchy in texture. I’m looking forward to using it in soups as a replacement to noodles or rice.
(8) Quinoa is versatile. It can be eaten cold or hot for any meal and it’s great any which way. Serve it hot with steamed vegetables, some garlic, olive oil and lemon, or cold, the same way with raw veggies. You can also serve it hot with a curry sauce, which is amazingly yummy. It can be served in salads, veggie burgers, even as breakfast, hot or cold. Mix it up or even cook it with some milk (regular, almond, coconut…the choice is yours) add some fruit and enjoy! It’s a great way to start the day and will keep you full and energized for a long time.
Quinoa with broccoli, kale and a coconut curry sauce.
(9) It’s a historic food. Apparently, 5000 years ago, the Incas cultivated the crop and realized it’s potential to give strength to their warriors. They called it the “mother seed.” It was a staple in the Incan diet until the Spanish conquerors came and made it illegal to grow quinoa. The conquerors destroyed the quinoa and forced native indians to grow wheat instead…for whatever reason.
(10) It’s high in manganese, magnesium and phosphorus which are major minerals needed in our diets. Manganese helps in the metabolism of carbs, fats and proteins to produce energy. Magnesium maintains the nerve and muscle cells and signals the muscles cells to contract and relax. Phosphorus helps to generate energy from all cells in the body, is the main regulator of metabolism and is second to calcium in what makes up our bones and teeth.
As a side note, for your own health: in it’s original state, quinoa is covered in saponin. Saponin is a natural protector of the seed with a bitter taste to ward off bugs and birds and is a protective coating against harmful sun rays. Though, most quinoa sold in the U.S. has been pre-rinsed, removing the saponin, it can’t hurt to rinse the quinoa in a fine mesh strainer. You will notice any saponin by seeing a soapy consistency in the water and we all know what can happen if soap somehow gets ingested. ;-)
There you have it folks, 10 reasons quinoa rocks! If you haven’t already tried it, I highly recommend it. If you’re already on the bandwagon, keep it up! Let’s all thank the Incas for cultivating such an awesome, well-rounded food.
As reference, check out this informative website for all healthy foods:
The World’s Healthiest Foods – Quinoa