One of my favorite grains that I get a lot of questions about: QUINOA! Here are some of my favorite recipes and amazing facts about this super grain...
Photo courtesy of www.thekitchn.com
Over 5000 years ago, the Incas cultivated the grain-like seed quinoa as one of their staple crops. Since then, science has shown that this humble "grain" is actually a super food! Quinoa is full of phytonutrients, antioxidants, and can even help balance your blood sugar. As a result, people everywhere are discovering the benefits of quinoa - a delicious whole "grain" that is easy to digest, full of high quality protein and fiber, and can form the basis for delicious Body Ecology meals.
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is not a grain; it is actually a seed and related to the spinach family. When cooked, quinoa is light, fluffy, slightly crunchy, and subtly flavored. It actually cooks and tastes like a grain, making it an excellent replacement for grains that are difficult to digest.
However, its flavor is only part of why quinoa is such an amazing "super grain." Some of the nutrients in quinoa include:
- Complete protein. Quinoa contains all 9 essential amino acids that are required by the body as building blocks for muscles.
- Magnesium. This helps relax your muscles and blood vessels and effects blood pressure. Quinoa contains high levels of this vital nutrient.
- Fiber. Quinoa is a wonderful way to ensure that you consume valuable fiber that eases elimination and tones your colon.
- Manganese and copper. Quinoa is a good source of these minerals that act as antioxidants in your body to get rid of dangerous cancer and disease-causing substances.
Compared to other grains, quinoa is higher in calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than wheat, barley, or corn. Studies have shown that quinoa has documented health benefits too!
Quinoa, in its whole grain form, may be effective in preventing and treating these conditions:
- Breast cancer
- Insulin resistance
Researchers attribute the health benefits of quinoa to its complete nutritional makeup. Quinoa is close to one of the most complete foods in nature because it contains amino acids, enzymes, vitamins and minerals, fiber, antioxidants, and phytonutrients.
1. Breakfast Quinoa (from The Feed Zone Cookbook)
- 2 cups low-fat milk (or almond milk), plus more for serving
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 3 tablespoons light-brown sugar (or honey), plus more for serving
- 1/8 teaspoon ground cinnamon, plus more for serving
- 1 cup (1/2 pint) fresh blueberries, plus more for serving
- Bring milk to a boil in a small saucepan. Add quinoa, and return to a boil. Reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, until three-quarters of the milk has been absorbed, about 15 minutes.
- Stir in sugar and cinnamon. Cook, covered, until almost all the milk has been absorbed, about 8 minutes. Stir in blueberries, and cook for 30 seconds. Serve with additional milk, sugar, cinnamon, and blueberries
2. "Dinner Bells" Recipe (from Family Fun Magazine)
- 5 medium red or orange bell peppers
- 1 lb. lean ground turkey
- 1 cup chopped onion
- 2 1/2 tsp. dried Italian seasoning
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 1/2 cups cooked quinoa
- 1 jar (25 oz.) marinara sauce
- 1/2 cup water
- Cut off tops of peppers. Clean out completely and discard seeds. Place peppers upright in a 4-6 quart crock pot.
- Combine turkey, onion, Italian seasoning, garlic and salt. Stir in rice (or Quinoa). Spoon into peppers.
- Pour most of the marinara sauce over peppers. Add water to remaining sauce in jar. Cover jar and shake. Pour over peppers.
- Cover and cook on low-heat setting for 6 hours or on high-heat setting for 4 hours.
- Transfer peppers to serving plates. Spoon sauce over top. Let stand for 5 minutes