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!