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Quinoa Is A Great Way To Introduce Nutrition And Variety Into Diets

January 17, 2011 by  

Quinoa is a great way to introduce nutrition and variety into dietsWhile commonly referred to as a grain, quinoa is a jewel-like seed that turns into a fluffy mound when cooked and can pack protein, fiber and amino acids into a diet. With so many varieties of the seed and recipes to be found, using quinoa is a great way to try new things while improving overall health.

According to the United States Department of Agriculture, one cup of quinoa delivers five grams of fiber, nine essential amino acids and eight grams of protein — making it a great, gluten-free source of nutrition for vegetarians and the health-conscious alike.

Quinoa comes in a rainbow of colors and each variety has its own unique flavor, Alex Postman, editor-in-chief of Martha Stewart's Whole Living magazine said in an article on the website of San Jose Mercury News.

"It comes in a spectrum of colors, from white to pink, orange and black. I would advise first-timers to start with the lighter types, because those are a little blander," Postman told the news source.

The seeds need to be rinsed before cooking to remove a bitter coating and can then be simmered in a 1:2 ratio of quinoa to water or stock for 10 to 15 minutes.

Postman said it tastes great when mixed with a vinaigrette or pesto and leftover roasted vegetables.  

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  • Steve

    Where do you get it? I have never seen it before.

    • coal miner
      • coal miner


        Cover quinoa with water using at least twice the amount of water to quinoa. Soak quinoa in a bowl for 12 hours. Using running water, place the grains in a jar with a screen or cheesecloth lid; or use some other sprouting apparatus. Rinse seeds twice a day. Lay the jar sideways to give them room to grow. Cover the jar with a dark cloth loosely so that air can move through the lid. The grain is soft when finished, and best eaten in 2-3 days.

        The Basic Quinoa Recipe

        This light and wholesome grain may be prepared quickly and easily with this basic method. 2 cups water 1 cup quinoa
        Place quinoa and water in a 1-½ quart saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer, cover and cook until all the water is absorbed (about 15 minutes).

        You will know that the quinoa is done when all the grains have turned from white to transparent, and the spiral-like germ has separated. Makes 3 cups.

        To prepare in a rice cooker, simply treat quinoa like rice. Add two parts water to one part quinoa, stir, cover (unlike rice you can stir quinoa a few times while cooking to prevent burning in the bottom of the pan) and when the cooker shuts off, the quinoa is done.

        Revised Microwave Instructions: Submitted by Donovan, we have tried this method and highly recommend it. 1 cup Quinoa, 2 cups water in a 2 quart microwave bowl. Cook on high 100% for 5 minutes and 60% for 8 minutes. Let stand for a few minutes and voila, perfect Quinoa.

        For an energy saving method, combine 1-cup water to each ½ cup of quinoa in a pan. Bring to a full boil for 5 minutes, and then set aside, covered for 15 minutes.

        For additional flavor, substitute chicken broth or vegetable stock for the water in any of the methods listed above.

        *Ancient Harvest Quinoa has already been washed with pure water and solar dried to remove the natural bitter saponin coating.

        Hot Breakfast Cereal Bring 2 cups water to a boil, add 1 cup quinoa, reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes. Add 1/2 cup thinly sliced apples, 1/3 cup raisins, 1/2 tsp cinnamon and simmer until water is absorbed. Serve with milk or cream and sweeten to taste with honey or brown sugar.

        1/2 cup carrot, diced 6 cups quinoa, cooked (basic recipe)
        1/2 cup green onion, diced 1/4 cup olive oil
        1/4 cup celery, diced 2 cloves garlic, crushed
        1/4 cup green pepper, diced 1 cup almonds, sliced
        1/4 cup sweet red pepper, diced 1/4 tsp oregano
        salt to taste

        Sauté chopped vegetables in olive oil until clear, yet crisp: stir in oregano. Add sautéed vegetables to cooked, hot quinoa, mixing well. Add salt to taste. Dry-roast almonds in heavy skillet until lightly golden. Add almonds and mix. Serves 6-8. Quinoa pilaf served as a side dish with fish or chicken is delicious. Vary the pilaf using your favorite vegetables, or by cooking the quinoa in chicken, fish or vegetable stock instead of water.

        Tabouli, a mid-eastern salad, try it with quinoa for a delightful new taste.

        2 cups quinoa, cooked 1/2 tsp basil
        1 cup chopped parsley 1/2 cup lemon juice
        1/2 cup chopped scallions 1/4 cup olive oil
        2 TBL fresh mint or 1 TBL dried mint salt and pepper to taste
        1 garlic clove, pressed lettuce leaves, whole
        1/4 cup olives, sliced

        Place all ingredients except lettuce and olives in a mixing bowl and toss together lightly. Chill for 1 hour or more to allow flavors to blend. Wash and dry lettuce leaves and use them to line a salad bowl. Add tabooli and garnish with olives. Serves 4

        Quinoa Stir Fry (for hungry family of 4)
        Created by: Pam Ruggles

        2 cups quinoa cooked in 4 cups water
        2-3 stalks broccoli, chopped
        1 cup snow peas
        3 spring onions, chopped
        3 garlic cloves, chopped
        1 Tablespoon grated ginger
        2-3 Tablespoons sesame oil
        20-24 steamed shrimp Stir fry veggies in 2-3 Tablespoons sesame oil til tender. Add 1 Tablespoon maple syrup after veggies are done. Add 20-24 steamed shrimp and stir in, if desired. Add soy sauce to taste.
        1 can peeled tomatoes or
        4 roma tomatoes, chopped
        1 lb hamburger or veggie burger
        2-8 oz cans tomato sauce
        3 cups quinoa, cooked
        1/4 lb mozzarella cheese, crumbled
        1/4 lb parmesan cheese, grated
        1/4 cup olive oil
        1 tsp salt
        2 tsp oregano
        1 cup onion, minced
        1/2 lb ricotta cheese
        2 cloves garlic, minced

        Sauté onion and garlic in olive oil until browned. Add hamburger, cook until browned. Add tomato sauce, tomatoes, salt and oregano. Simmer. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Put layer of this sauce in bottom of 13x9x2-1/2″ baking dish, following with layer of quinoa and layer of cheese. Repeat two more layers ending with sauce an extra Parmesan cheese on top. Bake about 35 minutes. Serves 6-8.

        5 cups quinoa, cooked (basic recipe) ¼ cup olive oil
        1-cup carrots, chopped ¼ cup soy sauce
        ¾ cup parsley, minced ½ cup lemon juice
        1-cup sunflower seeds tomatoes
        4 cloves garlic, minced black olives

        Cook quinoa, let cool. Add carrots, parsley, sunflower seeds and garlic to quinoa. Mix thoroughly. Combine liquids, pour over quinoa and toss well. Garnish with tomato wedges and olives. Serves 6-8.

        2 cups cooked chicken, cubed 1-cup mayonnaise
        1-cup quinoa, cooked (basic recipe) salt (to taste)
        1-cup celery, diced paprika ¼ cup
        walnuts, chopped

        Chill all ingredients and combine. Sprinkle paprika on top for color. Serves 4-6 All sorts of variations are possible with this basic recipe. Try bean sprouts and water chestnuts, or grapes and pineapple. Quinoa will enhance many other salad recipes. Try quinoa in fruit salad or tuna salad.
        2 cups quinoa, cooked (basic recipe) ½ cups raisins
        3 cups milk ½ cup shredded coconut
        1/3-cup honey or ½ cup brown sugar 1 tsp vanilla
        ½ cup almonds or walnuts, ground 3 eggs, beaten
        ½ tsp cinnamon 1/8 tsp salt
        ½ tsp lemon or orange rind, grated 1 Tbs butter 1 tsp lemon juice

        Combine all ingredients. Pour into greased baking dish or greased individual custard cups. Bake in 350-degree oven until set, about 45 minutes. Serve hot or cold, topped with yogurt, cream or apple juice. Serves 4-6.

        This recipe was borrowed from an old favorite that originally called for rice. Quinoa substitutes nicely to almost any recipe designed for rice.
        2 cups potatoes (mashed with skins on) ¼ cup parsley, chopped
        2 cups quinoa, cooked (basic recipe) ½ tsp salt
        2 eggs, beaten ½ tsp cumin
        ½ cup onion, chopped ½ tsp oregano

        Combine all ingredients. Mix well and form into 1” balls. Deep fry balls until golden brown.

        2 cups quinoa, cooked (basic recipe ¼ cup onion, chopped
        1 cup raw shrimp, chopped 1 tsp salt
        2 eggs beaten 1 ½ tsp ground ginger

        Combine ingredients.
        Mix well and form into 1” balls. Deep fry balls until golden brown.
        Dipping sauce: ½ cup tamari (soy sauce) ¾ cup water
        2 Tbs rice vinegar or cider vinegar
        ¼ lb butter (softened) ¼ tsp black pepper
        2 large eggs ½ tsp basil
        1 cup grated sharp cheddar cheese 1 ¾ cups milk
        1 cup quinoa meal, or flour 1-cup corn meal
        ¼ tsp salt 2 tsp baking powder

        Preheat oven to 425° degrees. Prepare quinoa meal by grinding raw quinoa grain in a blender, or use quinoa flour. Blend milk, eggs and butter. Mix dry ingredients together and add to liquid. Fold in grated cheese. Bake in greased muffin tin until golden (10-15 minutes). Makes 24 puffs.

        These cheese puffs are a perfect combination with soups and salads or as a hot appetizer.

        1 cup quinoa meal, or flour 2 cups corn meal
        1 tsp salt ½ tsp baking soda
        1 ½ tsp baking powder 1 Tbs honey or brown sugar
        1 large egg, beaten 3 Tbs melted butter or bacon fat
        2-½ cups buttermilk

        Preheat oven to 425° degrees. Prepare quinoa meal by grinding raw quinoa in a blender, or use quinoa flour. Combine all dry ingredients. Combine wet ingredients. Mix the two together. Bake in greased 9”x9” pan or greased muffin tin until golden (about 25 minutes). Serve hot, with lots of butter.

        For a spicier variation add a 4-oz can of chopped green chilies or jalapeno-and-tomato relish.

        4 cups water 2 cloves garlic, chopped
        ¼ cup quinoa 1 Tbs safflower oil
        ½ cup carrots, diced ½ cup tomatoes, chopped
        ¼ cup celery, diced ½ cup cabbage, chopped
        2 Tbs onions, chopped 1 tsp salt
        ¼ cup green pepper, diced parsley, chopped

        Sauté quinoa, carrots, celery, onions, green pepper and garlic in oil until golden brown. Add water, tomatoes and cabbage and bring to a boil. Simmer 20 to 30 minutes or until tender. Season to taste and garnish with parsley. Serves 4-6. This is a very basic recipe for quinoa vegetable soup. For variations try adding some of your other favorite vegetables, chopped and sautéed. Quinoa can be a welcome addition to just about any type of soup.

        2 cups water 2 cups milk
        ¼ cup quinoa 1 tsp salt
        ½ cup potato, cubed dash black pepper
        2 Tbs carrot, diced ¼ cup parsley, chopped
        ¼ cup onion, chopped butter
        1 ½ cups corn (fresh, frozen or canned)

        Simmer quinoa, potato, carrot and onion until tender (about 15 minutes). Add corn. Bring back to boil and simmer another 5 minutes. Add milk. Bring just to a boil. Season to taste. Garnish with parsley and dab of butter. Serves 4-6.

        (from the back of the Traditional Box)

        (4 Servings)
        1 cup Traditional Quinoa
        2 cups Water
        4 large or 6 medium Green Peppers
        1 medium Onion, diced
        1/2 lb. fresh Mushrooms, sliced
        2 Tbsp. Butter
        1 – 28 oz can Tomatoes, coarsely diced (reserve juice)
        2 Garlic cloves, crushed
        1 – 12 oz jar Mexican Salsa
        2 Tbs. Dry Sherry
        10 oz Mozzarella Cheese, shredded

        Pre-heat oven to 325° F. Cook traditional quinoa following basic directions (add 1 cup quinoa to 1 1/2 cups boiling water, return to a boil, then lower heat to a simmer and cook until water is absorbed, about 15 minutes). Steam 4 large or 6 medium green peppers until soft but not limp. In a large skillet, saute the onion and mushrooms in butter. Add the diced tomatoes (reserve the juice). Add the crushed garlic and Mexican salsa. Cook over medium heat for 10 minutes. Add the sherry and simmer 10 more minutes. Fold in quinoa. Place peppers in baking dish and fill with quinoa mixture. This will take about half the mixture. Thin remainder with reserved juice and pour around peppers.

        Sprinkle shredded mozzarella over peppers and bake in 325° F. oven for 30-35 minutes.

        (4 servings) This recipe is on the back of our Inca Red Box
        1 cup Red Quinoa 1/4 cup Marsala Wine
        2 cups Water 2 Tbsp. Tamari
        Pinch Sea Salt 1/2 lb. Crimini Mushroom Caps, minced
        2 Tbsp. Olive Oil 1/2 tsp. Whole Fennel Seed, crushed
        2 Shallots, minced 1/4 cup fresh Cilantro or Basil for garnish
        1 tsp. dried Basil 4 roasted Tomatoes

        Cook red quinoa in 2 cups Water for about 15 minutes until water is absorbed. Warm a heavy bottomed skillet. Add olive oil and minced shallots together, in that order. Cook slowly until shallots are clear, soft, and beginning to brown. Add mushrooms, toss well, and then spread out over the pan stirring occasionally always returning them to cover the metal surface of the pan. Cook until mushrooms are deep brown. Add cooked quinoa, mix well. When grain is thoroughly heated and may be sticking slightly to the pan, add Marsala, stir, add tamari, stir. Cover for a few minutes. Toss a generous amount of minced fresh herbs into the grain. Then use to fill roasted tomatoes.

        (Roasting a tomato: Use a small sharp knife to cut into the center and scoop out some of the inside of the tomato. Put some olive oil in the palm of your hand; lightly coat the tomato with oil. Coat with a small amount of sea salt. Bake at 450° F. until the skin is slightly soft.)
        This sensory casserole is sure to please. The leek provides nice color contrast, but may be substituted with onion and parsley for a similar effect.

        1 1/2 cup tofu dash pepper
        2 teaspoons sesame oil oil
        1 garlic, pressed 1 cup bread crumbs
        1 leek, chopped 1 cup milk (dairy or soy)
        2 cups cooked quinoa 1/2 cup cheese, grated
        1 tsp salt, or 2 tsp tamari

        Preheat oven to 350*. Working with 1/2 cup tofu at a time squeeze out water using both hands. Set aside. Heat a large skillet or wok and add oil. Add garlic and then leek and saute until lightly browned. Add quinoa, then tofu, and saute each for 2 minutes. Season with salt (or tamari) and pepper.
        Oil casserole. Add 1/2 cup bread crumbs and rotate casserole until the bread crumbs evenly coat the casserole. Gently add the quinoa mixture. Press a well in the center of the quinoa and pour in milk. Cover with remaining bread crumbs and cheese. Cover and bake for 20 minutes. Remove cover and continue to bake until cheese is nicely browned. Serves 5
        Huminta is a popular Latin American dish that is made of either corn or quinoa. Light and sensory, but very satisfying, it is similar to a souffle in texture or to a green corn tamale. Traditionally it is wrapped inside corn leaves and steamed. This baked variation is sure to please.

        4 cups cooked quinoa 3 drops anise extract or 1/2 tsp powder
        1 cup tofu (squeeze out excess water) 1/2 tsp sea salt
        1 cup cooked winter squash(carrots o yams) 1 tsp unrefined vegetable oil
        1/4 cup tahini 1/2 cup bread crumbs

        Run the quinoa, tofu and squash through a find food mill. Lightly blend in tahini, anise and salt.
        Oil a small casserole. Add half of the bread crumbs and rotate around the casserole to form a thin layer of crumbs. Add the quinoa mixture, sprinkle remaining bread crumbs on top, cover and bake for 1 hour. Serve hot in cold weather or room temperature in hot weather. Any leftovers may be sliced and pan fried. Serves 4

        Home*About Us*Quinoa Harvest*Products*Polenta Recipes*Order*Nutrition

        • Richard Pawley

          Noticed that one recipe called for a can of tomatoes. If you must use canned tomatoes use them IMMEDIATELY after purchase as it has been discovered that the acid in the tomatoes leaches a chemical out of the micro-thin plastic liner in tomato cans (that keep it from rusting or eating through the can). This chemical has been shown to be a cause of pancreatic cancer. I threw out my few cans of tomato sauce, paste, etc. when I found that out, even one large number ten can. I only buy tomatoes and tomato sauce in jars, often reusable, and have used Ragu’ spaghetti sauce three years past it’s expiration date with no problem (but it had no cheese or meat in it as they could go bad). Not sure about dried tomato power in cans.

    • Richard Pawley

      Most health food stores carry it in expensive small packages. Trader Joe’s has the red quinoa in one pound packages for 4.95 and I bought a 25 pound case from for 62.50. Apparently they are all nutritionally equal but the lighter color tends to be cheaper. My wife likes it with organic butter and sea salt like grits. I do too, but prefer it with a dab of honey, raisins and walnuts all added during the last five minutes. I have also eaten it with spaghetti sauce and cheese and often make it with sliced carrots, cooking them for 5 minutes first and then adding the quinoa after five minutes and cooking them together for the remaining 15 minutes. Some quinoa claims to be prewashed but rinsing it a time or two through a sieve doesn’t hurt. Much healthier than genetically modified corn grits and the UN considers it a supper food. Only two commercial farms grow it in the US although it is grown in Canada and of course, South America where it originated. Makes a nutritionally whole food for very young children too although skip the honey for them.

    • http://yahoo richard

      it should be in places like health food stores or health food section of grocery stores, wholefoods etc

    • Wes Evans

      I get it at my local grocery store (Publix). I am sure Whole Foods will have it.

  • Bo Larson

    Quinoa is great we recommend it to our clients to help with sources of protein, amino acids and the fiber. Great product and a healthy alternative.


  • Pat D

    I love Quinoa! Has anyone tried Kinibars yet? The are an all natural energy bar made from Quinoa, they taste great!

  • izolasyon

    Aw, this was a really quality post. In theory I’d like to write like this too – taking time and real effort to make a good article… but what can I say

  • http://www.İ Kamera sistemleri

    i war not user to comment you this article.. but i want to say that.. we want see your new articles on this blog.. see you..


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