Quinoa (pronounced: keenwah) is a delicious grain-like seed that’s rich in nutrients. It’s wildly popular among natural foods enthusiasts for its terrific texture and flavor, and its excellent nutritional profile. Quinoa requires only half the cooking time as brown rice, and it’s a perfect grain base for stir-fries or buddha bowls. Also try adding quinoa to salads; it imparts a nutty flavor and the protein it provides will keep you from feeling hungry an hour later.
In addition to tan (the most common variety) quinoa can be red, rainbow, or black. All colors cook up the same, and the flavor and nutrient profiles are comparable. Consider using a color of quinoa to contrast with the color of whatever dish you’re making; red beans served over tan quinoa looks far more appealing than it does when served over red quinoa.
Quinoa is gluten-free and supplies all nine essential amino acids required to supply the body’s protein requirements. Quinoa also contains phosphorus, magnesium, iron, and dietary fiber. Thanks to its growing popularity, food companies are increasingly incorporating quinoa into their products. Pasta, cereal, and chips made from quinoa can be found at many groceries and natural foods stores.
Quinoa is naturally coated with a bitter substance to protect against insects, so always rinse it using a fine strainer prior to cooking. Preparation couldn’t be simpler: just put one part quinoa to two parts water into a pot, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer, and cover. Fifteen minutes later you’ll have a pot of perfectly-cooked quinoa.