Quinoa has a nutty flavor and texture similar to rice. It's good source of complete protein, vitamins and minerals - 25% of the daily iron and magnesium requirement, 10% for Vit E, potassium, and fiber, 20 or so amino acids. Unlike wheat or rice, quinoa is a good source of lysine. Quinoa is also gluten free, and nutritionally higher than wheat for almost everything except complex carbohydrates. It also has more fat than most grains.
Helpful Quinoa Hints:
• Quinoa has high oil content, so should be stored in the fridge or freezer after opening to avoid becoming rancid
• A tight fitting lid is essential for even cooking
• Quinoa is coated with saponin, which will give it a bitter taste unless you wash it very thoroughly - those tiny flaky bits in the rinse water are the saponin (Most quinoa you buy in the stores has been pre-washed, but check by agitating in water.) If the water is clear it has been washed
• Because of it's high protein and oil content, quinoa is a satisfying meal with a few nuts or beans and veggies added
Basic Quinoa Recipe: 4 - 6 Servings: 2 quart pot with tight fitting lid
• 1 cup quinoa
• 1 1/2 cups cold water
• 1/2 tsp salt
(I find that most quinoa comes already washed these days and doesn’t need washing.) If you don’t wash proceed to step 6.
1. Soak the quinoa first for 15 min - 1/2 hour in its cooking pot. Soaking loosens up the outer coating of saponin, which can give a bitter taste if not removed.
2. If you don't have time for long soaking, use hot water and soak for five minutes, then give an extra rinse or two
3. Stir the quinoa with your hand, and carefully pour off the rinsing water, using a sieve at the last.
4. Put the quinoa back in the pot, add more water, and rinse again two or three more times, until the rinse water is pretty clear
5. Drain quinoa well in the sieve.
6. Place quinoa in the pot, add the water & salt.
7. Bring to a boil, cover with a tight fitting lid, and turn the heat down to simmer.
8. Cook for 15 - 20 minutes.
9. Remove from heat and allow to sit five minutes with lid on.
10. Fluff gently with a fork and serve.
Think of using quinoa as you would rice. You can use it in salads; or hot with dried fruits and nuts; or with finely chopped vegetables added. You can brown it before cooking in liquids as you would rice for pilaf. If you know how to make Dilly Bread you can use it to replace the cottage cheese.
It is a great storage food as it is a complete protein just as meat is.