Quinoa (pronounced “KEEN-wah”) is a recommended “grain alternative” on the gluten-free diet. It is a naturally gluten-free food crop that the Incas considered to be sacred. It originated in the Andean region of South America over 6000 years ago. It is actually a “pseudocereal” – called as such because it is not a grass.
In recent years quinoa has become highly appreciated for it’s nutritional value and easy digestibility. Its protein content is very high (12%-18%) and it contains a balanced set of essential amino acids. It is a good source of dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and iron.
Ancient Harvest (http://www.quinoa.net/106.html) is the main producer of quinoa products in the United States. They process the quinoa so that it does not need rinsing (see below). It comes in the form of grain, flake, and flour. They also produce pasta and polenta products that incorporate quinoa. Most of these products may be found in many grocery stores in San Diego.
Quinoa has a light, fluffy texture when cooked, and its mild slightly nutty flavor makes it a common alternative to rice or couscous in recipes. It should be stored in your refrigerator and used within 6 months. There is now an abundance of recipes available using quinoa, in such things as chili, soups, salads, hot breakfast cereal, and much more. Just type in quinoa+recipe in your search engine, or look in recipe books that specialize in healthy cooking.
Comments, websites, recipes:
Basic Cooking Instructions: Because some of the bitter saponin
covering on the grain can still be present even though most quinoa is
washed before being sold, *you should thoroughly rinse the dry grain
until the water runs clear. *Combine 1/2 cup quinoa with 1 cup water and
simmer for 15 minutes or until tender. For a nuttier taste, toast the
quinoa in a hot dry pan for about 5 minutes before cooking.
Northern Quinoa Corporation: http://www.quinoa.com/recipes/recipes.html
A drop down list of recipes for using whole Quinoa and flour. Some
recipes are not GF, many are." (Canadian producer of quinoa)
"My favorite salad for Quinoa so far is: Quinoa, fresh corn cut from the cob, chopped mint, pine nuts, and a dressing of honey and lemon juice." Katrina to SillyYak group
"I use quinoa as a side dish, as a cold salad with lentils and roasted red peppers, or for the kids, I'll make a white rice pilaf and beef up the nutrition with some quinoa and some GF oat groats." Joy, NY, to SillyYak group 4/08
"If you haven't tried Quinoa, its an awesome staple to add to you diet! Put a little GF salad dressing on top....delish! They also have recipies included on the box. (Its made like rice)." ~jill to SillyYak group 4/08
"Quinoa is my FAVORITE grain! It’s a nutritional powerhouse—more fiber and protein than wheat ever had. Complete protein at that (contains all of the essential amino acids).
Quinoa has a bitter coating and so must be rinsed very well. Then, use it and cook it the way you cook white rice. One part grain to two parts water, bring to a boil, reduce to simmer for 15 minutes. Use it to replace rice or cous-cous in hot or cold dishes. I love to cook it in soy milk instead of water for a breakfast cereal—add some dried apricots or fresh peaches or whatever turns you on.
The cheapest I find quinoa is by the bag at Whole Foods, their store brand." Laurie to SillyYaks site 6/08
I've never rinsed mine and think it seems fine. I made some for
Stephen's lunch today and we call it GF couscous, which he love
pre-GF. My package says simmer 5 minutes though, so I wonder if mine
is processed differently/more (Trader Joes). I also throw it into
soups, or to extend taco filling and lighten up the fat load of the
meat. I like it in a green salad with cranberries. Or warmed up
with a pat of butter like rice or added to a pilaf. Add a little milk, and it's a hot cereal." Joy NY, to SillyYak site 6/08
"I have my favorite quinoa recipe here. I love quinoa!!!
http://www.gfandhealthy.com/2008/04/08/quinoa-italiana/ Cheryl to SillyYak site 6/08
"I've been eating cooked quinoa for breakfast. In my gluten days, I would eat oatmeal most mornings. Quinoa is a nice substitute, especially if you mix it with dried cranberries and a touch of honey. I cook a pot up and store it in the fridge. I don't bother to heat it up, it's good cold.
Also good with cucumbers, celery and lemon or salad dressing. Good with anything.
I also use quinoa flour in my breads.
Great and healthy grain. I read somewhere that quinoa is one of the few 'complete' foods and loaded with nutrients." Ann F. to SillyYak site, 9/09
"Quinoa is great with black beans and corn also. Lots of recipes for quinoa. Plus it is pretty good for you." Patricia M. to SillyYak site 9/09
"rinse quinoa till the water is clear- or it will have a strong
unpleasant flavor. general directions 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups water,
bring to boil for five minutes then simmer on low for 10. I find i
like it better when cooked with boullion - i per each cup of water i
use!!! love it!!" To SillyYak site 9/09