Tuesday, February 7, 2012


When I plan a meal I try to make it as balanced as possible: with a protein, a green veggie and a grain.  But, let's face it, there is only so much brown rice a person can eat.  One fun grain to start incorporating in to your meals is QUINOA (pronounced keen-wah).  When some people hear about quinoa they say, "quin-whaaat?"  But, I assure you, it is very easy to prepare and is good for you as well!

uncooked quinoa
Quinoa is actually not considered a "true grain" because the crop is not a member of the grass family like wheat, barley or other grains.  It is considered a pseudocereal and is closely related to species such as beets, spinach and tumbleweeds.  Quinoa originated in the Andes of South America in Ecuador, Bolivia, Columbia and Peru.  The Incas worshiped the crop and referred to it as "the mother of all grains."

The nutritional value of quinoa is excellent.  The protein content is very high (12-18%) and, unlike other grains such as rice and wheat, quinoa contains a full set of essential amino acids, making it a source of complete protein.  It is also a great source of dietary fiber, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.  One other great benefit is that it is naturally gluten-free and easily digestible.  

cooked using the method described
I have learned a great trick or two from Tom's mom, Gail, for preparing tasty quinoa, which can sometimes have a very bland flavor.  First, you rinse your quinoa then toast it for a few minutes in a hot, dry pan until you start to smell the great toasted, nutty scent.  Then, you cook it according to the package directions (usually bring to a boil, reduce heat, cover and simmer for about 10 minutes).  Once all the liquid has been absorbed, you return the quinoa to the toasting pan and toast it again, adding some spices such as garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper, or whatever other spices you like.  Using this method is very easy and gives your quinoa a little crunchy texture and a great nutty, spiced flavor!

I just starting making our quinoa using the described method and we love it!  Do you have any other tricks to tasty quinoa?  Please share with us!


  1. Sounds amazing, looks yummy and is healthy, I will have to try, thanks to Amanda's Nutrition Kitchen!!!

  2. I am so glad that you are quinoa fan. It is definitely sounds like a healthy alternative to rice or couscous and a helpful addition to a balanced meal. Hopefully we can share some other quinoa recipes.