Ah yes, I’m in love… head over heels in love… with quinoa (pronounced keen-wah), and don’t worry, it’s not another man and not another woman. It’s actually something that we have added to our diet recently and has become a family favorite.
So what’s so great about quinoa? Well, let me explain… it’s a seed not a grain. It comes from the plant Chenopodium quinua and there is very litte doubt that it was part of the diet of the very wise Incas famous for Machu Picchu. In fact, it still is a vital part of the Andean diet. It’s used in baking and in numerous dishes prepared by the Quechua, the Aymara and other indigenous people. Alexander Von Humboldt, the Latin American geographer wrote extensively about quinoa on his travels.
So you must be thinking “okay fine, the indigenous in the Andes think that quinoa is a pretty cool thing, but what difference does that make?” Well… let me explain a little further, what I love about quinoa is that it’s considered the “perfect protein” why? Because it contains all 9 essential amino acids. So for those of you who are interested in following a vegan diet (like me), quinoa is a perfect thing to add to your diet. It’s also high in vitamins, B, E, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and dietary fiber.
It’s such a versatile seed as well, you can prepare it like oatmeal and have it for breakfast. It’s very easy to cook… 2 cups of water to 1 cup of dry quinoa, let it boil, cover and simmer for about 20 minutes until it’s completely cooked and water has been completely absorbed. It tastes good on its own but you can prepare it like you do oatmeal, by adding a bit of almond milk, cinnamon and fruit like bananas. Or, you can also eat it in a salad with chopped tomatoes, bell peppers, chopped cucumber, chopped pitted black olives, a bit of olive oil and lemon juice. The best part? 1/3 cup of quinoa contains 6 grams of protein. That’s nothing to sneeze at. Oh… and it comes in different colors too!
Even if you’re not following a vegan diet, I highly recommend you try it. Those of us who have, will tell you that we hardly ever cook brown rice anymore 🙂