Quinoa was considered a sacred food by the Incas. In the last several years, cooking quinoa has become very popular. Let's take a look at what quinoa is and why you might consider adding it to your diet.
What is Quinoa and Why is it so Good For Me?
Many nutritionists consider quinoa to be a super food. It is not a true grain, but is often treated as such when cooked. It has a range of proteins and provides a perfect balance of the eight essential amino acids. This makes it especially attractive to vegetarians. Additionally, it provides slow releasing carbohydrates, which makes it a great food for anyone who is watching their diet. Quinoa is nutrient dense and free of both cholesterol and trans-fats. Those with food intolerances will be happy to learn that it is wheat free and gluten free.
How do I cook Quinoa?
Cooking quinoa is a lot like cooking rice. Start by rinsing the quinoa under warm water for three or four minutes. Some people recommend soaking it for 15 minutes prior to this, but I have not found this to be a necessary step.
You will then add two times the amount of liquid as the amount of quinoa. For example, if you are cooking one cup of quinoa use two cups of liquid. Depending on what you are cooking, you can cook with either water or chicken broth.
Quinoa cooks through the absorption method. Just like rice, as your quinoa cooks, the water will be absorbed. You know your quinoa is done when the water is absorbed. This will take between 15 and 18 minutes.
Let your quinoa sit covered for another five minutes. It's done!
How Can I use Quinoa?
Quinoa can be used in many ways. It is great in salads, soups and stir fry. I also love to use it in many casseroles where you can substitute quinoa for rice or pasta. In fact, my kids love Quinoa and Cheese even more that macaroni in cheese. You can also use quinoa like you would oatmeal as a binding agent. I use it in meatloaf and meatballs.
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