Have you been getting bored with rice lately? Change it up by swapping for quinoa! Quinoa, pronounced keen-wah, has been gaining popularity over the last few years and for good reason. Let's take a look at what makes quinoa so popular.
Many people consider it to fall into the grain category but quinoa is actually a seed! It is a good source of protein and is also a complete protein, meaning that it provides all the essential animo acids that your body needs. In addition to also being high in fiber, it provides folate, Vitamin B6, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, and zinc. Quinoa is gluten-free, making it a great substitution for those avoiding pastas or other gluten-containing foods. Quinoa has a slight nutty taste, enhanced by toasting, making it great tasting on its own or seasoned. This superfood does have a natural coating that can cause a bitter taste. Processing typically removes it prior to it hitting the shelves. However, it doesn't hurt to rinse the quinoa before cooking it to ensure the bitter tasting components, the saponins, are removed.
Quinoa makes a great accompaniment to any meal. It is easily substituted for rice, barley, or pasta in any meal. Quinoa also makes for a great cold salad in the summer by mixing with diced vegetables and a squeeze of a lime. Mix quinoa with beans and diced tomatoes for a quick vegetarian meal. Today, I will share one of my favorite ways to prepare quinoa. Feel free to experiment with it!
1 cup quinoa, rinsed and patted dry
2 cups chicken or vegetable stock
1/2 cup dried cranberries
1/2 cup sliced almonds, toasted
Place the quinoa in a medium pan over medium-high heat. Cook, stirring frequently, until quinoa looks toasted, about 3-4 minutes. Transfer the quinoa to a medium pot and add the stock. Bring to a boil. Once the mixture boils, reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer. Cover and cook for 15 minutes or until all fluid is absorbed. Add the cranberries and almonds and transfer to a serving dish.