Quinoa is a recently rediscovered ancient "grain," native to Central America. This tiny seed can be found in a variety of colors, although white is the most commonly consumed.
This tiny seed is a powerhouse when it comes to nutrition. It is high in protein, around 12–18%, an unusual occurrence among plant foods. In fact, the protein in quinoa is considered to be a “complete protein,” as it contains all eight essential amino acids which are needed for building and maintaining muscle in humans. Just four ounces, about ½ cup, will provide a child’s protein needs for one day.
The quinoa seed is also high in calcium and iron, nutrients essential to a woman’s health. Naturally gluten-free, quinoa also makes a nutritious and flavorful alternative grain for those with gluten sensitivity. Providing 3 grams of dietary fiber per serving, quinoa would be a worthy addition to anyone’s diet.
Quinoa will produce a fluffy, creamy and slightly crunchy consistency with a mild and somewhat nutty flavor when cooked. Try incorporating quinoa into your next meal using one of these quick serving ideas.
•Substitute quinoa for rice in any entree, soup or salad recipe.
•Create a side dish with a kick of flavor by substituting water with chicken or vegetable stock when cooking quinoa.
•Mix quinoa with honey, almonds or berries for a high-protein hot breakfast cereal.
•For a twist on your favorite pasta recipe, use noodles made from quinoa.
•Ground quinoa flour can be added to cookie or muffin recipes.