Quinoa: The SuperGrain!

              Quinoa is the common name for Chenopodium Quinoa, a flowering plant in the amaranth family Amaranthaceae. It is a herbaceous (related to herbs) annual plant grown as a grain crop primarily for its edible seeds. After harvest, the seeds are processed to remove the outer coating that contains bitter-tasting saponins. They are gluten-free. Quinoa may be served as a grain simply by removing the bitter outer coating, called saponin, and boiling the seeds in water for about fifteen minutes. Once cooked, the seeds become transparent with tiny white bands circling across the midsection and grow to three times their original size. Quinoa is my favourite whole grain for three reasons

  • First, it takes less time to cook than other whole grains, takes just 10 to 15 minutes to cook.
  • Second, Quinoa is a gluten-free and cholesterol- free whole food.
  • Finally, of all the whole grains, Quinoa has the highest protein content, so it’s perfect for vegetarians and vegans.

 Health Benefits

  • High in Fiber

Quinoa has a high fiber content which helps you feel fuller for longer, potentially reducing the overall intake of food. Quinoa can help with digestion for it is a source of insoluble and soluble fiber. It can act as ‘roughage’ which means it helps with digestion by retaining water in the large intestine relieving people suffering from constipation.

  • It’s Gluten-Free!

Yes, You heard me right! Quinoa is Gluten-free, beneficial for people who are gluten sensitive or who follow a gluten-free diet.

  • Promotes Weight Loss

Eating Quinoa on a regular basis may even be one way to prevent obesity. The protein and fiber found in Quinoa can make you feel fuller, which will make you less likely to binge on unhealthy foods.

  • Loaded with Antioxidants

A specific type of antioxidants called bioflavonoids, or flavonoids, is found in large amounts in Quinoa. Provides a higher amount of antioxidants compared to other grains such as corn, rice or potato flour.

Types of Quinoa

White Quinoa Most widely sold variety of Quinoa

Takes least amount of time to cook.

Red Quinoa Remains intact, prefer using this type in cold salads or in recipes where the texture of a distinct grain is preferred.
Black Quinoa Takes longer time to cook

Taste is more different than the white and red varieties with an earthy, sweet flavour.

Tips

  • Quinoa has a naturally bitter coating called saponin that keeps insects away without having to use pesticides. The saponin can be removed by rinsing Quinoa with water before consuming. Although most packaged Quinoas have the saponin already removed, it is never a bad idea to give it an extra rinse.
  • Quinoa is very easy to cook! You can prepare Quinoa much like the way you would prepare rice. Cover it with water or vegetable broth and simmer it over medium heat until soft, about 15 minutes, giving it a couple quick stirs.
  • It can be used in baking or as a breakfast grain, it also works well in hot side dishes, cold salads, and even in burgers.
  • It is easy to incorporate Quinoa into your diet – just use it in place of rice in any recipe. Its small grains cook to tender in as little as 15 minutes.

Recipes

Quinoa Weight Loss Soup

Ingredients

6 cups vegetable stock

1/2 cup Quinoa

1 tsp lemon rind

1 tbsp finely chopped garlic

salt and freshly ground black pepper

1 tbsp lemon juice

Method

  • Combine the vegetable stock, Quinoa, lemon rind and garlic in a deep non-stick pan, mix well and cook on a medium flame for 15 minutes, while stirring it occasionally.
  • Add salt and pepper powder and mix well and cook on a medium flame for 1 minute, while it stirring occasionally.
  • Switch off the flame add the lemon juice and mix well.
  • Serve immediately.

Quinoa Salad

Ingredients

200g Quinoa

1 tsp Olive oil

½ onion finely chopped

400g lentils, rinsed and drained

¼ cucumber, lightly peeled and diced

6 spring onions, thinly sliced

1 tbsp red or white wine vinegar

Method

  •   Cook the Quinoa in a large pan of boiling water for 10-15 mins until tender, drain well, then set aside to cool.
  •   Meanwhile, heat the oil in a small pan, then cook the onion for a few mins until softened, then remove from the heat.
  •   Stir the softened onion into the cooled Quinoa along with the lentils, cucumber, spring onions and vinegar. Toss well together and chill until ready to serve.

 

 

 

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