Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)
Like the blog title states, To eat or Not to eat??? In my hunt for healthy recipes for this blog, I keep hearing Quinoa, Quinoa, Quinoa and kept thinking - what in the world is it and what do you do with it? So I did a little research and wanted to explain a little bit what this mysterious ingredient is for those of you that don't know either (which was me right before I posted this). To be honest, I have not tried it before so I'm eager to cook with it - I would love to hear your opinions about it too!! But, from what I read, Quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed from a plant that is similar to spinach, beets and swiss chard, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley. They say that you can use it instead of rice, so it might be pretty good for a veggie stir-fry.
I've read that #1, it takes less time to cook than other whole grains. #2 it supposedly tastes great on it's own, or you can add a little bit of olive oil, sea salt and lemon juice and that's supposed to be real good! And finally #3, of all the whole grains, quinoa has the highest protein content, so it's perfect for vegetarians and vegans.
Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol-free, and it's kosher for Passover, and is almost always organic. To cook quinoa: Prepare quinoa as you would prepare rice. Cover it with water or vegetable broth and boil until soft, about 15 minutes. Or, place 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water in your rice cooker.
Nutritional content of quinoa: According to CalorieCount, 1/3 cup of cooked quinoa has 160 calories, 2.5 grams of fat, 3 grams of fiber and 6 grams of protein. You can find it in the bulk bins or the baking aisle of natural foods stores, or find it online.
NUTRITIONAL BENEFITS OF QUINOA
- High In Protein: Quinoa is equipped with all 8 amino acids making it a complete protein. That makes Quinoa a great addition to a vegetarian diet but is also a low-fat protein for meat lovers.
- Gluten Free: Because it is not a grain and not related to wheat, Quinoa is a fantastic grain alternative for those with gluten sensitivities or allergies. It can be used as a flour in baked goods or in its seed form. Its nutty flavor is a fantastic addition to a morning muffin or banana bread.
- Reduces Blood Pressure: Quinoa is a rich source of magnesium which is a vasodilator and helps to lower blood pressure.
- Reduces Migraines: The same vasodilator effect that lowers blood pressure also decreases and treats migraine headaches.
- Great Source Of Fiber: One of Quinoa’s most redeeming qualities is its fiber content. This nutritional grain alternative has 3 grams of fiber per cup. Fiber lowers cholesterol, stabilizes blood sugar, squashes hunger and improves colon health.