One of the ancient food staples of the Incas,it was called "The Mother Grain." An ivory-colored, tiny, bead-shaped grain. Its flavor is delicate, almost bland, and has been compared to couscous or rice. Quinoa is lighter, but can be used in any way suitable for rice. Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain, and is higher in unsaturated fats and lower in carbohydrates than most grains and is a very good source of calcium, iron, phosphorous, B vitamins,and vitamin E. Quinoa's slow-releasing carbohydrates help to maintain blood sugar levels.
We usually think of quinoa as a grain, but it is actually the seed of a plant that, as its scientific name Chenopodium quinoa reflects, is related to beets, chard and spinach. These amino acid-rich seeds are not only very nutritious, but also very delicious. Cooked quinoa seeds are fluffy and creamy, yet slightly crunchy. They have a delicate, somewhat nutty flavor. While the most popular type of quinoa is a transparent yellow color, other varieties feature colors such as orange, pink, red, purple or black. Although often difficult to find in the marketplace, the leaves of the quinoa plant are edible, with a taste similar to its green-leafed relatives, spinach, chard and beets. Not only is quinoa high in protein, but the protein it supplies is complete protein, meaning that it includes all nine essential amino acids. Not only is quinoa's amino acid profile well balanced, making it a good choice for vegans concerned about adequate protein intake, but quinoa is especially well-endowed with the amino acid lysine, which is essential for tissue growth and repair. In addition to protein, quinoa features a host of other health-building nutrients. Because quinoa is a very good source of manganese as well as a good source of magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus, this "grain" may be especially valuable for persons with migraine headaches, diabetes and atherosclerosis. A Few Quick Serving Ideas: Combine cooked chilled quinoa with pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, scallions and coriander. Season to taste and enjoy this south-of-the-border inspired salad. Add nuts and fruits to cooked quinoa and serve as breakfast porridge. For a twist on your favorite pasta recipe, use noodles made from quinoa. Sprouted quinoa can be used in salads and sandwiches just like alfalfa sprouts. Add quinoa to your favorite vegetable soups. Ground quinoa flour can be added to cookie or muffin recipes. Quinoa is great to use in tabouli, serving as a delicious (and wheat-free) substitute for the bulgar wheat with which this Middle Eastern dish is usually made. Calories in Quinoa: 200 calories in 2oz of Quinoa, 637 Calories in 1 Cup of Quinoa. There are 180 calories, 3.5 grams of fat, and 3 WW Points in 1/4 Cup of Quinoa. Amounts per 1 Cup serving: Calories 636 Calories from Fat 89 % Daily Value* Total Fat 10g 15% Saturated Fat 1g 5% Polyunsaturated Fat 4g Monounsaturated Fat 3g Cholesterol 0mg 0% Sodium 36mg 2% Total Carbohydrates 117g 39% Dietary Fiber 10g Protein 22g Vitamin A 0% Vitamin C 0% Calcium 10% Iron 87% Thiamin 22% Riboflavin 40% Niacin 25% Pantothenic Acid 18% Vitamin B6 19% Potassium 36% Phosphorus 70% Magnesium 89% Zinc 37% Copper 70% * Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.
Quinoa can be added as a thickener to soups or eaten as part of a salad like couscous.