Health benefits of quinoa

Many people are unfamiliar with quinoa, pronounced [KEEN-wah].  It looks like a grain but it is actually a seed.  However, you can use it as a substitute for many grains, including rice, barley, and millet.  Unlike grains, it has a high protein content.  It contains all 9 required amino acids to make it a complete protein, much like meat.  This makes it perfect for vegetarians.  It is also high in antioxidants and natural anti-inflammatory agents.

Before you cook it, it need to be rinsed in a fine mesh strainer under cold water.  Continue rinsing it until the water no longer bubbles.  The grain is coated in a saponin, which make it taste very bitter if it is not rinsed.  Once it has been rinsed, place it in a pot with water.  For 1 cup of quinoa you will use 1 ¾ cup water or stock.  Bring it to a boil, cover and reduce the heat.  Cook until all the liquid has been absorbed.


It can be served plain as a side dish.  You can use it as a substitute for rice when you make stir fry.  You can also cool it completely and add sautéed vegetables, nuts, and fresh herbs to make a refreshing cold salad. Like grains, if you want to use it in a cold salad you will need to cool it by rinsing it with cold water immediately after cooking it.  Otherwise the carry-over cooking will over cook it and it will be mushy.