“What is this stuff? It sounds weird…” This is what I said a year ago when my trainer told me try it. I didn’t even know where to buy it, let alone what the stuff was. Plus, I was constantly mispronouncing it. (It’s pronounced: “KWIN-wah”) Fancy, huh!?
What is it?
Straight from Wikipedia: “Quinoa is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seed. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a member of the grass family. Quinoa is closely related to beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds.
Above is a picture of Quinoa growing. It is a seed not a grain, although cooks and tastes more grain-like than seed-like. It is known as the “little rice” of Peru.
Where do I buy it?
I have found quinoa to be at every grocery store I’ve been to, which includes Randalls, HEB, Whole Foods, Sprouts, Tom Thumb, Safeway, and Kroger. Is that enough places to say it’s everywhere?
It is not in the main-viewing area of shopping, usually. Although, it is growing in popularity. If you are trying to find it, look low and look high on the shelves. More than likely it is down the same aisle as rice. In the grocery store I shop at the most, I’ve noticed that they usually only have 1 row of about 8 boxes on the shelf. Pretty small compared to the 20 rows of various rice flavors and such. Anyways, look hard, it’s there!
Why would I want to buy it and eat it?
Quinoa is very high in its protein content (18%). It is also a source of complete protein. Other things it’s a good source of is dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, calcium, and iron. It is also gluten-free and is considered easy to digest.
So, your not sold yet? It has a grain-like flavor to it as the carb content it similar to rice and pasta. I use it frequently as a side dish, or it could easy be served as part of a main dish….stir-fried chicken and veggies over quinoa, or marina sauce with veggies served over quinoa…. The ideas are endless. Basically, I think of it as a healthier option in substitution for rice or pasta.
How would I prepare it?
Place two parts water or stock to one part of quinoa in a saucepan over medium-high heat. Simmer the quinoa for about 15 minutes or until it becomes translucent and the white germ forms a visible spiral on the exterior of the quinoa grain. Quinoa will be soft, in the same way as pasta, when done.