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Quinoa is Not a Cereal Grain

(Pronounced KeenWah)

I get asked a lot for better grain choices. Although Quinoa is not really a grain, it is a great choice and is relatively high in protein and somewhat lower in carbs. I’ve purchased an incredibly good pasta made from Quinoa and Rice. It’s gluten free and the brand I bought is organic. GOGO Quinoa. I don’t think your kids would know the difference. Here’s a snippet of info on the subject. It’s really good used in Tabbouleh-recipe below.

Quinoa is a plant that is very hardy and drought resistant. It bears clusters of seed on top of the plant that can range in colour from white to orange, red, purple and black, depending on the variety. The ancestral seed colour of quinoa is black; the other colours have been obtained from mutations and breeding. The quinoa seed, about the size of millet, resembles the grain of some cereal grasses, but it is not a grass.

How to Remove the Saponin

The seeds are coated with a saponin, which has a bitter taste. This bitterness is removed by washing in water or by a dry polishing process. Before consumption of quinoa the seeds should be rinsed to remove any of the saponin dust that may remain on the seeds. [Suggestion: Mix two tablespoons of yogurt or buttermilk in enough purified water to cover quinoa by one inch. Soak the quinoa for at least 12 hours and then drain and rinse before cooking.] The seed of quinoa is an excellent food, rich in protein and high in fibre. The protein is well balanced and is particularly rich in the amino acid lysine, which is difficult to obtain from other vegetable sources. It is also high in calcium, phosphorous, vitamins B and E.

Versatile Quinoa

Quinoa is a very versatile plant that can be cooked many ways and tastes excellent. The green leaves can be used in salads or cooked like spinach. The grain can be sprouted, like alfalfa; used as a hot cereal; used in soups, casseroles and soufflés; used in the place of almost any other grain, including rice; ground into flour; and toasted. An imaginative chef can find many more uses and ways to prepare quinoa than those given above. Dishes ranging from appetizers through desserts can be prepared from quinoa.

I have used quinoa to stuff peppers and Rodney (Dr. Van Dueck) recently used it to make veggie patties. (I’d give you the recipe but he made it up and he never writes down the measurements.) 1/3 cup cooked quinoa contains 13 gm. of carbohydrate and 3 gm. protein. Brown rice contains 1/2 the amount of protein and 15 gm. of carbohydrate. The best part about quinoa is that it has not been hybridized. It is relatively the same as when the Incas were eating it.

Quinoa Recipes (Basic cooking instructions and a few other ideas)

Quinoa Tabbouleh Salad A great alternative to couscous or bulgar which are both wheat based.

Quinoa the Supergrain: Ancient Food for Today – by Rebecca Wood

Examines many of the properties of Quinoa. Over 120 Quinoa recipes.

 
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Posted by on February 28, 2012 in Grains

 

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