Quinoa. Ever taken a stab at pronouncing it? Don’t worry; its’ a tough one. It is pronounced KEEN-wa. With or without being able to pronounce it, have you ever tried it?
Quinoa is a nutty brown grain that sounds intimidating, but is packed with nutrition and is as easy to cook as rice. Bring it to your next dinner party and impress your friends with your new, exotic (but oh so easy) ingredient.
Quinoa plants are colorful, flowering plants grown primarily in South America. In areas where it’s grown, people eat the leaves as well as the abundant seeds that we are more familiar with.
It is a great source of folate, manganese, B vitamins and zinc; however, the unique part of quinoa is its protein content. Quinoa includes all eight essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source. Almost all other complete proteins in our diets are animal products. This makes quinoa a sound protein source for vegetarians and infrequent meat-eaters.
As previously promised, quinoa is simple to cook. As you make it more, feel free to experiment with adjustments and additions to the recipe. As you will find, quinoa is quite forgiving for even inexperienced cooks.
Basic quinoa recipe:
- Rinse Quinoa – If you do not have a colander with small enough holes, lay cheese cloth inside your colander to keep the quinoa seeds from escaping.
- Add one part quinoa to two parts liquid to a medium-size pot. (Chicken broth works well as a liquid over water for added flavor.)
- Bring to a simmer, and then turn on low. Cover and simmer for 30 to 35 minutes.
- Turn off the burner and allow to sit for five to 10 minutes. Uncover, fluff with a fork and serve.
Serve as a simple side item; add to soups; or serve under stews, curries, or thick and chunky sauces. Refrigerate leftovers and add to your salad for lunch the next day.