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Cooking with Quinoa

Updated on March 9, 2008

This ancient grain is not actually a grain, but a relative of leafy green vegetables, like spinach and chard. Quinoa (keen-wha) is a fabulous food that contains all nine essential amino acids. This makes it a complete protein, which is an excellent addition to vegan and vegetarian diets.

Quinoa is also a source of manganese, magnesium, iron, copper, and phosphorous. This amino acid-rich seed has a fluffy, creamy, slightly crunchy flavor to it. When cooked or toasted, it has a nutty flavor to it. The most common type of quinoa is clear yellow, but it can range in color from orange, to pink, to red, and to purple.

This food is very easy to prepare. Like with rice and other grains, you should rinse it under cold water to remove any residue or anything else that might be mixed in.

Basic Quinoa

Add one part quinoa to two parts water in a saucepan. Bring the water to a boil, and then reduce the heat to a simmer. Cover and let cook for about 15 minutes. The quinoa will appear translucent when it is finished.

You can also dry roast it in a skillet for a few minutes before cooking to bring out the nuttier flavor. To change the flavor a bit, try cooking it in a broth instead of water.

I often stir fry some tofu and veggies, and then mix it together with quinoa instead of rice. It brings a whole new flavor to the meal, plus a power punch of nutritional benefits.

Quinoa Health Benefits

Those suffering from migraines could benefit from eating quinoa as it is high in magnesium. Some studies have shown that an increase in magnesium can be related to a decrease in headaches for those who experience migraines. Magnesium helps relax blood vessels, so consuming quinoa could also be beneficial for those with hypertension.

Quinoa is high in fiber, which promotes a healthy heart and digestive tract. Quinoa also acts as an antioxidant. It is a low-gluten food, so it is one of the least allergenic grains.

Quinoa Breakfast Porridge

1 cup quinoa

2 cups water

½ cup raisins

1 sliced apple

1 sliced banana

1 tsp. cinnamon

¼ cup honey

Bring the quinoa and water to a boil. Lower heat to a simmer, cover, and cook for about 15 minutes. While simmering, add the fruit and spices. The mixture will be fluffy when it is finished. Remove the pan from heat, and let it sit for about five minutes. Drizzle in the honey before serving.

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    • profile image

      Lara 

      7 years ago

      Quinoa is gluten free, but often made in factories with other gluten products, and therefore contains trace gluten.

    • profile image

      monica 

      9 years ago

      hi. thanks for the breakfast recipe. i love quinoa.

      quioa is actually a berry but it looks like a grain so they classify it as one. :-)

    • Mystic Biscuit profile image

      Mystic Biscuit 

      10 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Thanks Stacie - BTW congrats on being runner up today! :-)

    • Stacie Naczelnik profile imageAUTHOR

      Stacie Naczelnik 

      10 years ago from Seattle

      I know that it is low gluten, not gluten free. Some people can still eat it if they have allergies or sensitivities, but not everyone.

    • Mystic Biscuit profile image

      Mystic Biscuit 

      10 years ago from Phoenix, AZ

      Stacie - do you know if Quinoa is gluten free? It is its own grain and not a wheat product, so I am thinknig that it would not contain gluten. Would that be a good assumption?

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