Ingredient of the Week: Quinoa

May 28, 2014

Quinoa's rise in popularity may fool you into thinking that it's a new food but quinoa is an ancient seed from the Andean region of South America including Peru, Ecuador, Bolivia and Columbia.  According to archeologists, the plant was first domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago for human consumption.  In other words, it's been around for awhile.  Although several varieties of quinoa exist in their cultivated regions, commercially you will find red, white and black.

What's in it? Quinoa has been classified as a super food because of its exceptional nutritional value.  It contains essential amino acids and is a great source of protein, especially for vegans and vegetarians.  In addition, quinoa is rich in magnesium, iron, phosphorus, calcium and dietary fiber.  It's also a gluten-free food, making it safe for gluten intolerant individuals to eat.

How do you cook it? In general, quinoa is cooked similar to rice.  It's important to rinse the seeds thoroughly before cooking otherwise the seeds will be bitter.  You can flavor quinoa a thousand different ways.  Experiment with a variety of spices and aromatics.  It can also be mixed with other ingredients to create whole grain salads, vegetarian burgers, casserole, cookies, breakfast bars and much more.

Recipes to try:

Mexican Quinoa Casserole
Recipe from The Wicked Noodle

Quinoa Burgers with Creamy Feta Sauce

Quinoa Breakfast Cookies

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