The Secret of Quinoa

No, the secret isn’t how you pronounce quinoa. (It’s actually keen-wah.)

But here it is…Did you know that quinoa is a seed, not a grain?  Until I started following the Phase 1 diet, I just figured it was a carb so it must be a grain. Not so, my friends!  This is the one food on the Phase 1 diet that really made me feel full, like a good old carb would.

Here are some interesting facts about one of my favorite side dishes. Quinoa:

  • Is gluten-free
  • Contains many of the B Vitamins, Vitamin E, potassium, riboflavin, iron, zinc, manganese, magnesium, copper, phosphorus, and folic acid
  • Is rich in all nine essential amino acids, particularly lysine which helps your body build protein and repair tissue, and is considered a complete protein
  • Is cholesterol-free and low sodium
  • Is a good source of fiber
  • Can be substituted in most recipes for rice or other grains
  • Is a relative of spinach and Swiss chard
  • Will grow in less than optimal soil conditions…another food that could be farmed in third world countries to help with malnutrition

I buy a box of organic quinoa…

And I’ll cook up a big batch (2 cups of quinoa to 4 cups of liquid…usually 2 cups of water and 2 cups of low-sodium chicken broth) and keep it in the frig to add to recipes or use as an easy side dish.  It’s great with a little butter.  Or you can add vegetables in–saute some onion, shallots and garlic in olive oil– and make it a little heartier.

But whatever you do, don’t forget to RINSE the quinoa before you cook it. It has a very bitter coating (saponins) that will turn you off to this spectacular food if you forget to wash it off the first time…Just rinse the quinoa, put it in a pot with the liquid, bring to a boil, and turn down to simmer for 15-20 minutes until all of the liquid is absorbed. Easy.

Do you have any favorite quinoa recipes? I’d love to hear them!

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4 responses to “The Secret of Quinoa

  1. And it’s especially funny when you have a four year old pronounce it. 🙂 I ate the beef/onion/pepper/quinoa salad that mom made for lunch 4 days in a row last week. Overkill??

  2. Nope, it’s good for you! And I still need a name for it…….

  3. GAHHHHH how do you rinse quinoa? I don’t rinse the TJ’s brand because somewhere (?) I read that it is pre-rinsed. But the stuff is so tiny and damn near impossible to rinse without it getting everywhere. TELL ME YOUR SECRET!

    (pweese?)

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