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quinoa – a super food

Quinoa Plant

Quinoa plants

Quinoa (pronounced: kinwa), is considered to be a “Super Food” and for good reason, it is high in protein coming in at 13 to 20 percent, making it an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans. Quinoa is most commonly considered a grain but is actually a seed that is a relative of leafy green vegetables like spinach and Swiss chard. It has a light fluffy texture and nutty taste.  Quinoa is a recently rediscovered ancient “grain” once considered “the gold of the Incas.”  While relatively new to the United States, quinoa has been cultivated in the Andean mountain regions of Peru, Chile, and Bolivia for over 5,000 years, and it has long been a staple food in the diets of the native Indians. The Incas considered it a sacred food and referred to it as the “mother seed.”

Unlike wheat or rice, which are low in lysine, quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids, making it a complete protein source.  It is a good source of fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron.  It is wheat and gluten-free and easy to digest.  On top of all the great news, quinoa is easy to cook.  So simmer up a few cups, store it in the fridge and add it to soups, salads, or just serve as a quick side dish, as you would rice.

Quinoa Salad

Quinoa Salad

2 cups water
1 cup quinoa, rinsed under cold running water
2 tablespoons Champagne or white wine vinegar
2 teaspoons honey mustard
1/3 cup olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2  cup diced red bell pepper
1/2 cup shelled and cooked edamame beans
1/2 cup diced English cucumber
2 green onions, whites, and greens, thinly sliced
1/4 cup sliced Spanish green olives
Spinach leaves

In a medium saucepan, combine water, quinoa, and a pinch of salt. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce the heat to a simmer and cook for 10 to 12 minutes, or until the liquid is absorbed and the quinoa is fluffy and tender.  Once cooked, remove quinoa from the saucepan, spread out onto a baking sheet, and cool slightly.

In a medium bowl, whisk the vinegar and mustard, whisk in the olive oil, and season with salt and pepper.  Add the red bell pepper, edamame, cucumber, green onions, and olives.  Stir in the quinoa until well combined, and serve on a bed of spinach leaves.

Serves 6

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1 Linda Hopkins { 09.27.09 at 2:05 PM }

Thanks for the tweet, superfood_hive!

2 Cyndi G { 09.27.09 at 8:56 PM }

Are you going healthy on us now?

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3 Linda Hopkins { 09.27.09 at 9:46 PM }

Hey there, just cause it’s a super-food, doesn’t mean I’m going all “healthy on you” just trying to be super! 🙂 thank you for the spam help! xoxo

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