I love all things protein and love trying out new sources and methods of incorporating it into my diet. I’m not a carb hater (hello?? potatoes??!!!) but I know my body and blood sugar levels adore protein. If I could have a side of beef at every meal, I would. But I do like my clear arteries and having enough money to put gas in my car, so that option is not favorable.
I found this interesting grain-like substance a couple of years ago and I haven’t looked back. Check out these facts:
- Quiona=”keen-wah” or “kin-wah”
- Complete protein
- easy to cook
- used as a base for many dishes in place of rice
What I love most about this is that it’s a complete protein. This tiny seed contains adequate proportions of all 9 essential amino acids that are needed for human nutrition. This is a fancy way of saying it’s healthy and good for you. Very few foods fit this description and most plant sources of protein must be combined with other sources to make a complete protein. Protein combining is crucial to energy transfer.
How do I use this stuff?
I use quinoa like I would rice. True enough, it probably wouldn’t work for rice and gravy like we do here in the South. But it is a yummy base for any vegetable stir fry, roasted vegetables, salads, wraps, or plain cooked in vegetable stock and lots of herbs. It can be used for a sweet breakfast cereal with berries and honey. Savory or sweet, it’s a great starting point.
How do I cook it?
- First rule: RINSE IT OFF! Quinoa seeds have a coating of bitter-tasting chemicals called saponins, that make their seeds less-palatable to birds and other seed-eaters. Saponins are mildly toxic, and must be removed. I use a fine mesh sieve and rinse under cool water for about a minute. Some recipes call for soaking and rinsing for longer amounts of time, but I’ve never had a problem with a quick rinse under water.
- Liquid ratio: 1 part quinoa to 1 and 1/4 liquid. For 5-6 meals, I use 1 cup of quinoa to 1 and 1/4 cup of stock.
- I always cook mine in some form of stock just for extra flavor.
- Bring to a low simmer, reduce heat to low, cover and cook 30-35 minutes.
- Remove from heat, keep covered for 5 minutes. Then fluff with a fork.
These are TINY! Make sure you use a fine mesh sieve to rinse.
I used my macro lens to get this shot. They have a thin ring around each seed that will retain a light crunch after it’s cooked.
Fluffy cooked quinoa and tons of protein goodness.
Top with just about anything. This is lentils, roasted vegetables, and chicken sausage.
I hope this will encourage some of you to try this at home. The only two ways to ruin it are 1)not rinsing and 2) leaving on the stove because you got distracted by the latest “Real Housewives of some place other than small town USA” and it burned. :)