Quinoa: The Mother of All Grains
The following is an excerpt from my new book: Prevent a Second Heart Attack: 8 Foods, 8 Weeks to Reverse Heart Disease (Crown/Three Rivers, Feb 2011). For more info and to purchase, click here!
Quinoa (Keen-Wah) is one of those “Ancient” grains that is actually not native to the Mediterranean but rather South America. Quinoa was called the “Mother of all grains” by the INCAS, who considered it is a sacred food.
Quinoa is the seed of the Goosefoot plant, a plant related to spinach, with leaves that resemble…you guessed it, the foot of a goose! Loaded with vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, and fiber, this whole grain is incredibly nutritious.
Quinoa is also unique among grains because it is a complete protein, meaning it contains the right amount of all essential amino acids your body needs to build new proteins. Quinoa has twice the protein of regular cereal grains. Be adventurous and give this ancient grain a try!
It has a sweet nutty flavor with just a touch of crunch. Serve Quinoa as a substitute for rice (it cooks much quicker and comes out light and fluffy) or even in salads. Most grocery stores now carry it in the rice and beans aisle.
Chef Keith Blauschild’s Quinoa with Walnuts and Currants
Rinse the quinoa in a fine-mesh strainer with cool running water before cooking to remove the saponin, a natural coating on the quinoa which can be an irritant to the stomach if not removed. Some quinoa is sold pre-rinsed.
- 1 cup quinoa, rinsed
- 2 cups reduced-sodium chicken or vegetable broth
- 1/4 cup dried currants
- 1/2 cup chopped walnuts, toasted
- 1/4 cup finely sliced scallions, green and white part (2 thin scallions)
In a saucepan bring the quinoa and broth to a boil. Add the currants, cover and reduce heat to low. Cook for 15 minutes. Turn off the heat, leave covered, and let sit for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes open the pan and lightly fluff the quinoa with a fork to separate the grains. Gently stir in the walnuts and scallion. Serve warm or at room temperature.
NUTRITION IN A BOX
Per 1/2 cup serving:
- Calories: 194
- Fat: 8 g (0 g EPA, 0 g DHA, 1 g ALA)
- Cholesterol: 0 mg
- Sodium: 192 mg
- Carbohydrate: 26 g
- Dietary Fiber: 3 g
- Sugars: 4 g
- Protein: 7 g
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