What Is Quinoa?
Quinoa, pronounced Keen-Wah, is a wheat-free and gluten-free grain substitute that has a rich and nutritious past. Technically, quinoa is not a true grain, but is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. It is used as a grain and substituted for grains because of its cooking characteristics.
Quinoa has over 120 varieties, but only three are harvested in large quantities (it includes Red Quinoa). It has a delicate fluffy consistency and a slightly nutty flavor.
How to use Quinoa
You can use the leaves of Quinoa for a salad much the same way that you use spinach leaves. You can also use the seeds the same as you use rice or pasta.
Note that that there is a need to rinse the seeds or grains of Quinoa first before cooking to remove the saponin, its bitter resin-like coating. Part of the processing rinses them before shipping, but it is always wise to re-rinse at your home.
Better safe than sorry. You’ll know when the saponin is gone because when it is, present the water looks like you poured dish detergent in it and it is sudsy.
Quinoa – Nutritional Value
The nutritional value of Quinoa is extremely impressive. It is high in protein, calcium, and iron; and a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids the body needs for tissue development.
But why are we even talking about Quinoa? The answer is: because it is always gluten free! It will provide a tasty alternative to gluten-filled grains with its loads of nutritional value.
And for those that are not gluten-intolerant, allergic or don’t have celiac disease, Quinoa is a great addition for a bit of variety. Many people actually prefer it over glutenous grains.
Important: It is important to purchase fair trade quinoa. There are good news surrounding how it is harvested and its impact on indigenous cultures. Please be sure to do your research on this before purchasing.
Now that you know some facts about what is Quinoa, are you ready to try it?