Effortless & Wholesome Grains, Part 3: Quinoa
Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has become famous in the last decade as a superfood, because of its high levels of protein and dense nutrition. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein, more than any other grain. Technically its actually not a grain, but a tiny seed from South America, where it has been cultivated for thousands of years. To the Incas, quinoa was a sacred food they called it the “mother of all grains.”
As a vegetarian, I’m always conscious of making sure to get enough protein in my diet. Quinoa is a great food to incorporate into your meals because, unlike most grains, it contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete source of protein. This means that you don’t have to pair quinoa with beans to make sure you are getting adequate protein.
Quinoa has a mild, nutty taste, and works well in place of couscous or rice. I like to make it as a base for a veggie bowl, topping it with roasted vegetables, tofu and sesame ginger sauce.
Like I mentioned in the Brown Rice blog post, I generally like soaking my grains. This is especially important with quinoa because the tiny seeds are naturally coated with a protective, bitter substance. Soaking the seeds for a few hours, or at least giving them a thorough rinse, will remove the bitterness.
Here’s how to make a basic pot of quinoa:
- 1 cup quinoa, soaked or well-rinsed
- 2 cups water
- Optional: Soak the quinoa overnight, or for a few hours at room temperature. When ready to use, strain the quinoa.
- Rinse the quinoa thoroughly in a sieve. Place it in a pot with fresh water.
- Bring water to a boil, cover, turn heat to low and let simmer for about 15 minutes. You can tell when the quinoa is done when little white tails appear around each slightly translucent seed.
- Remove from head, and set aside, covered, for about 10 minutes. Fluff with a fork when ready to serve
By Chloe Bolton