While 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.