Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Discover Quinoa!


QUINOA, pronounced Keen-Wah, is a power-packed Super Food used by the ancient Incas.  It was considered the "Mother Grain" by the indigenous people.  Quinoa is actually a seed closely related to the sugarbeet and spinach.

Quinoa remains a staple in South American cuisine among the descendants of the Incas throughout Peru, Bolivia, and Chile because of it's high protein content. It contains more protein than most other grains, and the great news is: It's super easy to prepare!

Quinoa is appropriate for starter-Vegans because it contains all essential amino acids which our bodies use as building blocks for muscles and highly complex processes throughout our bodies.

Using Quinoa in dishes is so easy because you can just rinse, place in a rice cooker and let it cook. It cooks super fast, so if you ever have last minute guests arrive, you can whip up an awesome stir-fry dish using quinoa in 15-20 minutes!

Key Words I use when describing Quinoa: VERSATILE, PROTEIN-PACKED, NUTRITIOUS, FUN TO EAT! Below are some recipe ideas.

HOW TO COOK: Rinse First!
1. Rice Cooker: treat Quinoa like rice. 2 parts Water to 1 part Quinoa.
2. Stove Top: 1:2 Quinoa to Water, bring to boil. Reduce heat, simmer, and cover for 10 - 15 minutes. When cooked, you will see the germ ring pop on the grain.

ASIAN:
1. Quinoa goes great in stir-fry dishes! Just chop up some Veggies, sauté with Earth Balance Vegan Butter or Canola Oil; add Mushrooms like Shiitakes; bean sprouts; Tamari Soy Sauce. Serve over Quinoa.
2. Fried-Quinoa: Fry the cooked Quinoa with Earth Balance Vegan Butter, add Tamari, Salt and Pepper to taste and cook until golden and yummy. Add finely minced veggies and/or Tofu and serve as a side dish!

LATIN:
Use Quinoa instead of Rice in your favorite dishes!
1. Spanish Quinoa
2. Paella con Quinoa
3. Veggie Albondigas soup made using Quinoa

ITALIAN:
Use Quinoa instead of Pasta:
1. Veggie Meatballs with Marinara sauce over Quinoa Pilaf
2. Portabello Zucchini Quinoa Cakes
3. Stuffed Mushrooms with Vegan Sausages and Quinoa

BURGERS:
Add Quinoa to your Brown Rice from-scratch Veggie Burgers for some extra protein!

DESSERTS:
Cook Quinoa until almost fully cooked, then remove from the rice cooker and add to breads, cakes, cupcakes, cookies, pancakes, or muffins before baking!

Lastly, I recommend cooking Quinoa with no salt or seasonings if you are making a large batch for several dishes.  The reason for this is that you can use it in a savory dish as a substitute for rice, and you can also add it to sweetened baked goods.  Simply prepare it in advance and place in a reusable container in the refrigerator or freezer.

Enjoy! -K

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