Posts Tagged ‘Ways to use quinoa’

Ask Shelley Case: Quinoa – A Healthy Alternative for Gluten-Free Dining

Monday, November 8th, 2010

Question: Since going gluten-free I’ve discovered quinoa and I love it! Can you tell me more about quinoa, as well as different ways to enjoy it?

Answer: Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) has been consumed for thousands of years in South America and was a staple of the Incas, who called it “the mother grain.” It is not actually a grain but the seed of a broad-leafed plant from the Chenopodiaceae family which is a close relative of the weed, lamb’s quarters. There are hundreds of varieties of quinoa, ranging in color from white to red and purple to black. Many varieties are now grown in North America. The plant stalks grow three to six feet high, containing clusters of seeds near the top of the stalk. The seed looks like a cross between sesame seed and millet. Quinoa seeds are naturally covered with saponin, an extremely bitter resin-like substance which protects it from birds and insects. To be edible the saponin must be removed. Some companies specially process the quinoa to remove this bitter coating, making it pan-ready and fast cooking. Quinoa is sold in several forms. Listed below are some of these forms, and ways to enjoy them!

Quinoa Seed:

• Can be used as a side dish instead of potatoes or rice or in salads, pilafs, stuffings, casseroles and puddings, as well as a thickener for soups, chili and stews.

• Rinse the quinoa in cold water and drain. In a heavy-bottomed saucepan with a tight-fitting lid, bring 1 cup of quinoa and 2 cups of liquid to a boil and simmer for about 15 minutes, or until all the liquid is absorbed. Turn off the heat and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes. Makes about 3 cups.

• Can also be cooked in the microwave using a round 2-quart microwave-safe casserole or bowl. Combine 1 cup quinoa and 2 cups water, cover loosely with plastic wrap and microwave on high for about 10-12 minutes, or until most of the water is absorbed. Remove from microwave, stir once and let stand, covered, for 5 minutes before serving.

Quinoa Flakes:

• Can be eaten as an instant hot breakfast cereal. Add 1/3 cup of flakes to 1 cup of boiling water and boil for 1½ -2 minutes, stirring frequently. Remove from heat and allow to cool. Add chopped nuts and dried fruits and sprinkle with brown sugar. Can also be cooked in the microwave. Combine flakes and water in a medium-to-Iarge microwave-safe bowl and microwave on high for 2 -2 1/2 minutes. Stir before serving.

• Quinoa flakes are available in plain and various flavors (contains flaked quinoa, dried fruits, nuts or seeds, sugar and spices).
• Substitute quinoa flakes for up to 1/3 of the gluten-free flour in a cookie, muffin or bread recipe.
• Can also be added to pancakes and waffles.

Quinoa Flour:

•  A tan-colored flour with a slightly nutty, strong flavor so best combined with other gluten-free flours.
• Can be used in a variety of baked items, especially in highly spiced or flavored products.

Quinoa Pasta:

• Quinoa is combined with corn or rice and is available in a variety of shapes.
• Cooks in 5-9 minutes.

Nutritional Information on Quinoa:

• Quinoa contains more high-quality protein than any other grain or cereal. The quality of this protein compares very closely to that of dried skimmed milk. Quinoa is high in iron, magnesium, phosphorus and zinc. It is also a source of calcium, B vitamins and dietary fiber.

References: Northern Quinoa Corporation, Quinoa Corporation

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