It is closely related to beets and spinach, and grown primarily for its edible seeds which are perfectly balanced in amino acids, making it a complete source of protein and a great source of fibre, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.
Quinoa is gluten-free and is easy to digest.
The Incas held this crop as sacred and considered it the Mother of all grains. So I ask myself, why do we eat wheat? Well, according to history and Wikipedia, during the conquest of South America, it was the Spanish colonists who looked down upon it because it was the “Indians’ food”. The conquistadores forbade quinoa cultivation and forced the Incas to grow wheat instead.
Apparently, 2013 has been declared UN International Year of Quinoa. Yay for Quinoa!
I heard about Quinoa almost 20 years ago and only because my naturopath at the time suggested it as one alternative to wheat. Well, like a lot of people, I couldn’t even get my head around something other than wheat so I dismissed it. There were other alternatives too like spelt and kamut which I tried, but they are not gluten-free.
I recently decided to check out Quinoa more seriously because of its high protein and fibre content.
What I like to do when I first try something new, is to taste it on its own, without anything added so I can get a real sense of what it tastes like. So, I cooked up a batch ( that was real easy, like cooking rice), tasted it hot, then let it cool down and tasted it cold. The first thing I thought was…. wow, I can eat that! It went down really easy, cold and hot. I immediately began to think of all the things I could do with it.
So, I am going to share with you some of the recipes I’ve made so far and will update you on the ones I have yet to try.
First of all, Quinoa makes a fabulous cereal, hot or cold. I’ve tried a few different ways so far with what I’ve had handy in the fridge.
The first time, I made it for breakfast, I didn’t have any fresh berries so I used frozen. I put some frozen berries in a small non-stick frying pan and heated them up, then I put my already cooked Quinoa (which I always have in the fridge now) in the pan with the berries, stirred it around and when it was all nice and warm, I put it in a bowl and topped it off with some raw sunflower, and pumpkin seeds. It was really yummy, I felt great and it lasted me for hours! Get creative!
This morning I made a cold cereal by adding Almond Milk, fresh raspberries, organic strawberries and blueberries on my Quinoa and topped it off with yogurt and Hemp Hearts! YUM!!!
TABBOULEH INSPIRED QUINOA
1 1/2 cups cooked Quinoa, cooled
3/4 cup parsley, chopped
4-6 cocktail tomatoes, cut up
2 green onions, chopped
2 cloves garlic, chopped
4 tbsp org olive oil
4 tbsp freshly squeezed lemon juice
sea salt, to taste
In a bowl, combine Quinoa, parsley and green onion, add lemon juice and toss. Add chopped tomatoes, then garlic. Pour on olive oil, season with sea salt and toss well. Let it sit for about 20 min stirring occasionally till all the flavors blend together. Eat it for lunch, a snack or a side dish!
In my search for an alternate source of protein, other than meat, I found the “ALL MIGHTY MUNG BEAN”!
I bought a salad one day for lunch and I noticed there was a tiny little green, bean looking thing in it. It was a mung bean, of course there were many in my salad and I have to say they were quite tasty! I wanted to learn more about this curious little bean so I googled it. Turns out this little bean is super high in protein and fibre, vitamins and minerals etc. I thought…………what a great marriage! QUINOA and MUNG BEANS!
Looking for mung bean recipes on-line, to get an idea on how to use them, I discovered they are used a lot by Asian or East Indian cultures.
I adapted this next recipe from a Yogi, cleanse one, I found. Since April is a good time to cleanse the system, I thought it was and appropriate one to try. Although the original recipe was great, it was time-consuming and potent, so I toned it down a little and added a little Italian into it, Hehe. It is equally as yummy, not to take anything away from its Mother.
MUNG BEAN STOUP, YES, STOUP
1 1/2 cups Mung Beans (screened and rinsed 3-4 times)
4 cups of Water
1 cup ground Tomatoes
1 tbsp Coconut oil
2 tbsp Olive oil
2 Bay Leaves
2 Basil Leaves
2 med Onions, chopped
2 large cloves Garlic, chopped
4 stalks org. Celery, chopped
2 org. Carrots, chopped
1/2 tsp ground Ginger
1 tsp crushed Red Chilies (adjust to taste)
1 heaping tsp Turmeric
1 heaping tsp Garam Masala
seeds of 5 Cardamom pods
Sea Salt to taste
2 cups of Cooked Quinoa
In a med size pot add liquids and bring to boil. Turn heat to med and add beans, oil and leaves, stir
Add onions, garlic, celery and carrots, stir
Add spices and salt to taste
Turn heat to low, cover and cook for 35 to 40 min or until beans are soft but not mushy
When cooked, add 2 cups of cooked Quinoa and stir together
Drizzle a little Olive oil on top and garnish with Parsley or a Green Vegetable
I used Baby Bok Choy and it was a nice combination.
Untill next time……………………..