When I think of quinoa, I always want to a laugh a bit. Is quinoa a laughable thing? Probably not. But it’s reputation for being incredibly healthy amuses me. I’m that girl you tell you’ve eaten something healthy to but won’t send the snapchats of your donuts. I won’t fault it. I’m not much a sweets gal. And more often than not, when my friends tell me that made some healthy dish they are super proud of there’s quinoa in it. So what’s the deal with this hyped up grain?
Quinoa gets thrown around in dishes as commonly as rice these days. If you’re making a super food salad, the chances you’re going to find quinoa and kale in it are strong. But is it really that different than any other grains?
Yes and no. I heard it explained best this way. Yes, quinoa has protein in it. However, it has the same as other grains like rice and barley. The thing that makes its protein different is that it’s a complete protein. It provides amino acids your body doesn’t naturally make. Where as with rice you would need a legume with it to create a complete protein.
By definition, quinoa is an edible seed that has made the rounds as a super food. Pronounced keen-wa, this grain cooks typically in less than 20 minutes and does best when fluffed rather than stirred. It’s small than rice and should be rinsed well before use.
It’s also know for it’s health benefits such as “reduce blood sugar levels, lower cholesterol, increase fullness and help with weight loss”. Naturally gluten-free, quinoa is often found as an ingredient in gluten-free pastas and other foods. It also boasts 8 grams of protein per cup making it the perfect addition to the vegan or vegetarian diet.
You can find it in a few different colors. From a lighter brown to red and occasionally in tri-color packs, quinoa more often than not costs more than your average rice. But if you can find it in your bulk bin or at a surplus store, it’s typically a better price.
If you’re looking for a few ways to add quinoa into your diet, check out a few of my favorite recipes below.
Quinoa is a great addition to your diet if you’re looking to add in protein and lower your cholesterol. It makes a great base for nourish bowls and adds texture into a salad. You can even find it sprouted to add on top of smoothie bowls.
What are your favorite ways to enjoy quinoa? Or maybe you’re looking for more quinoa inspiration? Be sure to check out my Pantry in a Pinch series for more quinoa inspiration.