Quinoa is loved by vegetarians and health-conscious people, also, it is highly valued among those looking to lose weight.
It is very appreciated food and not by case. Quinoa is indeed a healthy and nutritious food for the body which is also rich in taste. Try these exquisite quinoa recipes: Garlicky Mushroom Quinoa, Healthy Mediterranean Quinoa Salad, Zesty Shrimp Avocado Quinoa Bowl, Creamy Avocado Tuna Salad.
Is quinoa a cereal?
Contrarily to the common belief, quinoa is not a cereal. Actually, It is a herbaceous plant of the Chenopodiaceae family, the same as spinach and beetroot. Its seeds can be white, red, or black. Why it is then mistakenly classified as a cereal? Upon grinding quinoa, you can obtain flour mainly made of starch, as a result, it is classified as a cereal on the market.
Is quinoa keto?
Although Quinoa is not a cereal, it still contains starch, as result, quinoa is NOT keto. Nonetheless, quinoa can be adapted to Keto diets.
Quinoa – the mother of all seeds
Quinoa is considered a superfood and traces back 5000 years in the culinary world. It was cultivated and consumed by the Incas on the stony plateaus of the Andes. It is a very resistant plant, which does not require special treatments to grow.
If talking about its aspect, quinoa resembles couscous as a texture, while is similar to rice in taste. If referring to its composition, the plant is rich in fiber, minerals such as magnesium, sodium, phosphorus, iron, zinc. We don’t stop here, quinoa is a good source of vitamins B, C, and E. Finally, quinoa is a highly digestible food rich in antioxidants, which help in the fight against aging.
Thanks to its high protein composition, quinoa is a very nutritious food and comes to the rescue of vegetarian diets. Also, it is a perfect aliment for celiacs because it is completely “gluten-free”. Moreover, quinoa contains all nine essential amino acids that the body is unable to produce. In particular, lysine, which is important for the growth of brain cells, and methionine, which plays an active role in insulin metabolism.
It has been proven that quinoa contains more calcium than milk. Thus, it helps to strengthen the skeleton, bones, and cartilage. This can be a good protective factor against arthritis, bone degradation, calcium malabsorption, and other similar disorders.
Types of quinoa
There are over 200 varieties of quinoa in nature, and today I will share everything I know about the 3 main types: Red Quinoa, White Quinoa, and Black quinoa.
The different colors of the seeds are the first indicator of the difference in taste. White quinoa is the finest of all, it has a more delicate flavor. For this reason, white quinoa is particularly used for the preparation of desserts. The red and black quinoa seeds have a more definitive taste, in some ways similar to that of hazelnuts. Red quinoa is not much different from white quinoa, but it is used for its decorative aspects. Black quinoa is the best in terms of nutrition, with the highest energy values. It is crispy and slightly sandy. However, none of the 3 types of quinoa is very pronounced, as a result, it is combined with other dishes very easily.
How and why to wash quinoa?
Unlike cereals, quinoa doesn’t need to be soaked upon preparation. Rinsing the small beans under plenty of running water is sufficient. The seeds are naturally coated in a substance saponin, which has a bitter taste. If you don’t wash the seeds thoroughly, you might feel the bitter taste. Although the taste is unpleasant, the saponin is not toxic.
How to cook quinoa?
Although quinoa is very versatile in cooking, it is mostly consumed boiled. You can use broth, or cook the seeds in water. To boil quinoa, the ratio is 2:1, 2 parts of liquid for each part of quinoa. It is best to salt the water, turn on the heat and boil the beans for about 10-12 minutes. After this time the liquid should have been completely absorbed. The most correct signal that your beans are ready is the absence of liquid, absorbed by the seeds just as it is for rice in the preparation of risotto. Another sign telling that the beans are ready is them becoming translucent.
Quinoa in the kitchen
There are no limits to using quinoa in the kitchen: it can replace pasta or rice in soups, it is very inviting when sauteed with vegetables or paired with meat or fish dishes. Perfect for delice recipes, quinoa also finds space in many desserts. A nice porridge is made out of with cow or vegetable milk cooked with quinoa. The seeds can be blended for puddings, used for cereal bars, and also to flavor cakes and biscuits.
The delicate taste of quinoa goes particularly well with legumes and vegetables, especially mushrooms and squash, raw or cooked. Ginger, cumin or cardamom are the spices that go best with this food. For a sweet version, go ahead with vanilla, chocolate, raisins, and hazelnuts.
How to cook Quinoa
- 1/2 cup quinoa raw
- 1 cup water
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 tbsp olive oil optional, to drizzle when qiunoa is cooked
- Pour quinoa (no matter the color) into a bowl
- Rinse under running water. Rinse again to wash off the bitter coat of the seeds
- Put quinoa in a pot, pour water over. Follow the 2:1 ration of water to quinoa
- Add a pinch of salt and turn on the stove. Put to boil
- When it starts simmering, turn heat to low, let simmer for 15 minutes, or until it soaks in the entire amount of water
- Turn off the heat, drizzle some olive oil on top, and cover with a lid. Let rest for 5 minutes
- Serve alone, with a salad or a fish/meat course