When I mention quinoa (KEEN-wa) to the average person, they have no idea what I am talking about. I explain that it is technically a seed that we eat like a grain (we eat it like we do brown rice) with higher nutritive value than other grains. It has a real hearty flavor and slightly chewy texture. Quinoa comes from a plant like spinach or beets, and the leaves of the quinoa plant are highly nutritious, but I haven’t heard of people eating them. Quinoa is unique for being a complete protein which means quinoa is a great food for vegetarians and vegans, and great for those with gluten intolerance (gluten free food). There are very few non-animal sources of complete protein foods (complete protein means it contains all essential amino acids); the most popular are spirulina, soybeans, and quinoa.
I find some people who are afraid to experiment with their grains are afraid to make quinoa because they don’t know how to cook it, and automatically think it is complicated because “ooo it is a healthy food”. This is nonsense because it only takes 15 minutes to cook (cooked like rice). And people in South America have been eating quinoa for thousands of years! So, it is not like this magical seed we have just discovered. Image Source
Quick Tip: Cook quinoa like popcorn! I haven’t tried this yet, but apparently, you can throw some seeds in a dry heated pan, and let them pop like popcorn. Then, you can eat it like a cereal grain, or like popcorn!
Haha, cute cereal Image Source
Quinoa Nutrition Facts: Plain, 1 cup serving: 222 calories, 3.6g fat, 39g carb, 5g fiber, 8g protein, good source of iron, thiamin, riboflavin, folate, vitamin B6, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese.
Here are some good tools for cooking with quinoa: A very fine mesh strainer to rinse the soapy saponin off the quinoa before you cook it (you must rinse it!!), and a cookbook with recipes for different grains (not just quinoa). It has one with macadamia nuts that I like.