Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a grain like species of Chenopodium that originated in South America. Quinoa has been used as a diet staple in this region for thousands of years and the Inca considered it “the mother of all grains.” When the Spanish conquistadors arrived, they forbade the cultivation of the crop as a way to crush the civilization. Fortunately, it has made a comeback throughout the world and once again appears in many dishes.
Quinoa supports good health in many ways. It is gluten free, making it an ideal option for those with Celiac disease and may reduce the risk of diabetes. It is one of the only plant foods that supplies a complete protein, making it particularly popular among vegetarians and vegans. The germ of the quinoa seed makes up close to 60% of the grain, giving it higher protein to carbohydrate ratio. It also contains a high amount of potassium, which is useful for those needing to control their blood pressure.
Consumers can choose from a variety of quinoa, including: red, ivory or black. Each seed is coated with bitter tasting saponins which must be thoroughly rinsed off before cooking, although pre-rinsed varieties are commercially available. This versatile seed lends itself well to many dishes both as an accompaniment or a stand-alone side dish. It is often paired with vegetables, but can also be served as a sweet cereal.
Learn more about other Whole Grains: [button color=”red” size=”small” link=”http://www.boschkitchencenters.com/discover/grain-education” target=””]Grain Education[/button]