Did you know “quinoa” means “mother grain”? The Incas ate it and gave it this particular name because they found it to be so important. Of all the grains, quinoa contains the most protein. Not only that, but the protein found in quinoa is complete: it has all nine amino acids that our bodies receive from food. A half cup of cooked quinoa contains 27% of the Recommended Dietary Allowance (RDA) of iron for women (40% for men). If you were to eat a similar amount of brown rice, it’d only provide you with less than 7% of the RDA. A half cup of quinoa also provides 22% of the Daily Value (DV) of magnesium
At the Market
-Most supermarkets should carry quinoa, but if not, you’ll find it at any health food store.
-Don’t get too discouraged about the cost of one bag of qunioa. A little goes a long way with this grain: during cooking it plumps up to 4 times its original volume, so it will last you longer than rice or any other grain.
-Purchase in smaller amounts as it does tend to spoil quickly.
In the Kitchen
-Rinse quinoa before cooking to wash away the saponin, a protective layer which gives it a bitter taste.
-For the proper consistency, bring 2 cups of water to a boil and then add 1 cup of quinoa, reducing the heat to low. Then cook, covered, for about 10-15 minutes until all the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is tender.
-Substitute rice for quinoa in nearly any dish!
-Store quinoa in an airtight container in the refrigerator or other cool, dark place.
My Go-To Recipe
2 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
4 large eggs, beaten (or flax eggs)
1/2 tsp Pure Himalayan Salt
2/3 cup fresh chives, chopped
1 yellow onion, chopped fine
1/3 cup fresh Parmesan, grated (or 1/4 cup Nutritional Yeast and 2 tablespoons vegan cheese)
6 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper or Chipotle Chili Powder (optional)
1 cup whole grain breadcrumbs (or gluten free bread crumbs)
1 T extra virgin olive oil
In a medium bowl combine quinoa, eggs, and salt. Stir in garlic, chives, onion, cheese and cayenne pepper. Add breadcrumbs and allow to sit for a couple of minutes.
Form into 1 inch patties. The mixture should be very moist. You may need to add water or extra breadcrumbs to moisten or make the mixture dryer.
Place a large skillet over medium low heat. Heat olive oil. Add as many patties as your skillet can handle, being careful not to overload it so that you have trouble flipping the quinoa patties.
Cover and cook for 8 to 10 minutes. If after 10 minutes your patties aren’t brown turn the heat up and cook (carefully to avoid burning) until they brown. Flip and cook for 7 more minutes on the other side.
Allow to cool on a wire rack, keeping your spatula handy to fend off family members who try to steal them.
Recipe and picture taken from Cooking Quinoa.
What is your favorite quinoa recipe?