All About Quinoa, Gluten Free Vegetarian Quinoa Recipe
Quinoa: complete nutrition, high protein, gluten free, many quinoa recipes
Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf is an easy healthy recipe and a favorite quinoa recipe. It’s a gluten free recipe, a stovetop casserole recipe, and a complete one dish vegetarian recipe, with grain, vegetables, and protein.
Quinoa is similar in texture and appearance to couscous, but more substantial and nutritious. It’s tasty and versatile, and cooking quinoa is easy – it cooks very much like rice, and can be make in a rice cooker. You can substitute quinoa in almost any couscous recipe or rice recipe.
With its complete nutrition and high protein content, quinoa is an ideal food for a vegetarian diet or vegan diet, a good source of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. It is perishable because of its oil content, and should be stored in a cool dark place, or refrigerated.
Quinoa (keen-wah) isn’t a true grain, but is used as a grain and substituted for grains because of its cooking characteristics. Originating with the Incas in Peru since at least 3,000 B.C., it has been cultivated outside of South America only fairly recently. The ancient Incas called quinoa the “mother grain” and revered it as sacred. There are over 120 species of quinoa, but only three are cultivated today.
The quinoa seed is a good source of protein (about 12%-18%), calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans and is exceptionally high in lysine, cystine and methionine-amino acids typically low in other grains.
Quinoa is a good complement for legumes, which are often low in methionine and cystine, the protein in quinoa is considered to be a complete protein due to the presence of all 8 essential amino acids – which makes it an excellent protein food for vegetarians and vegans.
Quinoa has a delightful characteristic that is all it’s own: as it cooks, the outer germ around each grain twists outward forming a little white, spiral tail, which is attached to the kernel. The grain itself is soft and delicate and the tail is crunchy which creates an interesting texture combination and pleasant “crunch” when eating the grain. Quinoa has a fluffy consistency and a mild, delicate, slightly nutty flavor. The leaves of the quinoa (Goosefoot) plant are also edible and make a pleasant vegetable, like spinach. A quinoa leaf salad is generally more nutritious than most green salads.
Quinoa is a gluten-free grain alternative, which makes it a nutritious and flavorful option for gluten free cooking. Karen Railey of chetday.com talks about several ways to use quinoa.
“Dry roasting quinoa in a pan or in the oven, before cooking will give a toasted flavor, and it can be cooked in fruit juice to add character to the flavor for use as a breakfast cereal or in desserts. Cold salads consisting of quinoa and chopped vegetables or cooked beans make a quick, easy, and nutritious dish. Quinoa flour is used in making pasta and a variety of baked goods such as pancakes, bread, muffins, and crackers. “
“Quinoa seeds can be sprouted and eaten as raw, live food for snacks or in salads and sandwiches. To sprout the seeds, soak about 1/3 cup seeds in a jar for 2 to 4 hours, then drain and rinse the seeds twice a day for 2 to 4 days. When the sprouts are about 1 inch long, place them near a window for chlorophyll to develop, which will give them a vibrant green color. Another fascinating way of using quinoa is to “pop” the seeds in a dry skillet and eat them as a dry cereal.” (See Karen’s article for another quinoa recipe.)
In South America, quinoa is often added to soups, just as rice is added in other parts of the world.
Try our Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf. This simple recipe gives you a one dish meal of basic cooked quinoa flavored with herbs, spices and veggies, with chickpeas added. It’s a quick easy recipe, and a delicious way to eat quinoa. Check out our other tasty quinoa recipes, or download our convenient quinoa recipe ebook.