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Sunday, November 11, 2012

Quinoa- A Complete Protein

(Pronounced keen-wa)

 Quinoa is a seed derived from a vegetable related to Swiss chard and spinach. Maybe that's why it has so many healthy properties.
Native of South America, Quinoa is used like a grain in cooking and is considered one of the grains and cereals food group. It has more protein than rice, millet or wheat and contains all nine essential ammino acids, not to mention riboflavin, selenium, iron and magnesium.
It's gluten-free and non fattening with a low glycemic index which won't spike your body sugars. Most of the calories are protein and complex carbohydrates which break down slowly in your digestive system. 

Serve quinoa like you'd serve rice: as a side, in soups, salads or wraps or eat like oatmeal. Use quinoa flour in gluten-free cooking. 

The main drawback to quinoa is that the seeds are covered with saponins, which are plant compounds that foam when they're mixed with water, similar to soap. The saponins won't hurt you if you consume them, but they give a bitter flavor to the quinoa seeds. Rinsing them well before cooking will fix this problem.
1 cup dry quinoa yields about 3 cups cooked quinoa. Boil in either 2 cups of water or vegetable or chicken broth for 15 minutes with the lid on.You can check on it periodically and give it a stir without worrying. Let it stand off the heat for five minutes with the lid on and then fluff with a fork. 
Try adding salt or other aromatic spices during cooking: A clove of smashed garlic, a sprig of fresh rosemary, a dash of black pepper.
Can I use my rice cooker to make quinoa?
Yes! Just use the 2:1 liquid to quinoa ratio and follow the instructions on your rice cooker.
Quinoa has a nice chewy texture like rice and is very filling. Once you try it, it might become a healthier staple choice  in your kitchen.

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