Most people who have heard of quinoa think it’s a grain, but technically, quinoa is a seed, not a grain and its grown high in the Andes Mountains of South America. Quinoa is an excellent source of nutrition.
Eat one cup of quinoa (a single serving size), and you’ll consume:
- 220 calories (70 percent carbs, 15 percent fat, 15 percent protein)
- 40 grams of carbohydrates (13 percent daily value)
- 8 grams of protein (16 percent of daily value)
- 3.5 grams of fat (5 percent daily value with no saturated fat)
- A glycemic load (blood sugar spike) of only 18 out of 250
- 5 grams of fiber (20 percent of daily value)
- 20 percent of daily value of folate (various forms of Vitamin B)
- 30 percent of magnesium daily value (beneficial for people with migraine headaches); 28 percent daily value of phosphorous; iron (15 percent); copper (18 percent); and manganese (almost 60 percent)
- Quinoa contains eight essential amino acids.
Those with gluten sensitivities or wheat allergies can enjoy eating quinoa as it contains no gluten or wheat.
Quinoa cooks easily in about 15 minutes. It is like cooking rice in a stovetop pot, add 2 cups of water per one cup of quinoa.
Cook quinoa at a high setting until it starts boiling and then cover and simmer for about 12-15 minutes. When you see the ring-shaped sprouts popping out, you’ll know the quinoa is almost ready. Stir the quinoa so all the water gets absorbed.
Unless you have purchased packaged quinoa that specifically states that it has been pre-rinsed you need to rinse quinoa thoroughly prior to cooking. The exterior of the seeds are covered in a bitter substance called saponin. Not only will it ruin the taste of the dish but it can cause gastrointestinal distress in some people. It’s so soapy that the Incas used to rinse quinoa and save the water to bathe in. Rinsing quinoa is easy, but you will need a very fine metal strainer or the seeds will fall through. Simply put the quinoa in the strainer and run it under a warm stream of water for three or four minutes.
You can use it like you would rice or add broth for flavoring and serve as a side dish. I have been researching the shelf life of quinoa and it appears that it will store long-term if protected from heat, light and oxygen. If I get additional information I will post it in the future.