Thursday, January 8, 2009

Quinoa Queen

Okay so I am getting a little sick of brown rice and GF pasta so I've switched over to quinoa for a while. Why? Because its so so versatile and of course Gluten Free. Its higher in protein and fiber than brown rice or GF pasta. In fact, here's a little info on this "non-grain" grain. Check out

Quinoa is 100% whole grain and is close to being a perfect food source in the balance of nutrition it provides. Technically it's not a grain but the seed of a leafy plant related to spinach. Quinoa is an excellent source of protein - 12% to 18%. According to The National Academy of Sciences, quinoa is "one of the best sources of protein in the vegetable kingdom". Quinoa contains the amino acid lysine which helps the body produce protein. It also helps the body process the protein in the quinoa and in other foods. The World Health Organization has rated the quality of protein in quinoa to be equivalent or superior to that found in milk products.
Quinoa is a source of all essential amino acids according to the United Nations Food and Agricultural Organization. It's a great source of B vitamins containing niacin, thiamin and B6.It contains high levels of potassium and riboflavin. It's also good source of zinc, copper, and manganese, and magnesium. It contains folic acid and vitamin E.

You can even make it into a nice hot cereal with berries or bananas. I make mine with almond milk. YUM!

Favorite recipe of the week- Quinoa Pilaf with Steamed Spinach and Baked Salmon or Chicken Breast (whatever meat you prefer).

1 tablespoon olive oil or canola oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 carrots, chopped
1 cup quinoa, rinsed
2 cups vegetable or chicken broth
3/4 cup toasted pine nuts
1-2 tsp minced garlic
I also paprika and/or chili pepper for a little extra spice.

Heat oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Cook onion in oil for 5 minutes, or until translucent. Add carrot, and cook 3 minutes more. Stir in quinoa and vegetable broth, and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover, and cook 15 to 20 minutes, or until quinoa is tender and fluffy.
In a bowl, toss quinoa together with nuts and parsley and other spices. Serve hot or at room temperature. If you're a cheese lover, add a little shredded Parmesan on top.

One more idea! I also used cooked quinoa instead of rice to make fried rice with vegetables (use egg beaters for a healthier option).

Hope everyone is doing well this first week of 2009!


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