What is Quinoa? Nutrition Facts and Recipes For Quinoa

Quinoa? What is that?, I asked. Pronounced “Keen-wah”, not Kee-no-wah, quinoa is something I had never heard of until very recently and wanted to find out more. Friends were discussing a website called “Cooking Quinoa“, which has recipes for cooking with quinoa with lots of delicious looking pictures of foods made with it.

Based on everything I’ve read so far about quinoa, its numerous health benefits and the nutritional facts shown on bulk packages I found, adding quinoa to our diet is a smart choice.

So, my next question was, where can I buy quinoa? I happened to find some organic quinoa, made by the brand called Nature’s Earthly Choice, while browsing around in Costco yesterday. The package says quinoa is a 100% whole grain, gluten free, wheat free and an excellent choice of protein. Quoting from the back of the 4 lb resealable bag of quinoa, the nutritional benefits of quinoa are described as follows:

“Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is a highly nutritious gluten free seed, originally from the Andean region of South America. It’s mild, slightly nutty flavor makes it a terrific substitute for rice or couscous. Quinoa, praised for its excellent nutritional profile, is an exceptional source of protein, containing all eight amino acids, making quinoa an excellent option for people looking to reduce their consumption of meat. Quinoa is also a good source of dietary fiber and contain B vitamins and iron.

More and more consumers are seeking great tasting and nutritious gluten-free options. Our organic Quinoa is one of the very best. Quinoa is extremely versatile and easy to prepare. Cooked quinoa makes a delicious side dish when mixed with vegetables and seasonings. You can use our quinoa for everything from breakfast cereals, to soups and salads, or add to your favorite chili recipe. Quinoa is also great as a filling for fun and healthy burritos or tacos. Our quinoa is pre-washed so you can simply cook and eat, no need to presoak or rinse.

Using two cups of liquid per cup of quinoa, combine liquid and quinoa in a sauce pan or rice cooker. Bring the mixture to a vigorous boil, then lower heat and simmer, covered, until quinoa is tender but still chewy and white spiral-like threads appear around each grain, about 15 minutes. You can make a larger batch of quinoa and store it in your refrigerator. During the week as you need it, pull the desired amount of cooked quinoa from your refrigerator and add to your favorite recipes.”

Cooking quinoa ahead of time and refrigerating portions is a great idea for busy people like us who don’t have a lot of time for meal preparation, but actually prefer quick and easy recipes. Quinoa leaves are eaten like a leafy vegetable, which would make growing quinoa in a garden a great addition to all the other vegetables and fruits, if the soil and climate requirements are met.

Wikipedia has an extensive description of what quinoa is, including detailed explanations of the nutritional facts about quinoa in general, and the red and black quinoa varieties. Quinoa is incredibly versatile and there are so many different ways of using it on a daily basis. Considering how healthy and beneficial quinoa is for overall health and wellbeing, it just makes sense to buy quinoa in bulk and always have it in stock.

Quinoa can be prepared and used in many different recipe dishes, including breakfast meals. Use quinoa in cereals, yogurt, pudding, smoothies, juices, burgers, salads, soups, breads, muffins, pancakes, chicken recipes, and more. I found some quinoa flakes too, besides the seed variety, so we’re going to be buying both types.

I’m anxious to try quinoa seeds or flakes in a lean turkey meatloaf recipe I have, but I would imagine meatloaf made with lean beef and quinoa would be delicious too. The quinoa cooking website mentioned above has spectacular pictures and How-To instructions of meals prepared with quinoa, and there’s even a quinoa cookbook available for free download.

But, where do you find and buy quinoa? Not all stores carry it, but many health food stores do. I found the one brand of organic quinoa at Costco but I don’t want to be limited to just the one brand, and I want to buy quinoa in bulk vs smaller bags or boxes found in some grocery stores. Searching online for where to buy quinoa, including black and red quinoa in 10 or 25 lb bulk sizes, I found quinoa pasta, noodles, flour, flakes and seeds offered by different brands. Brand names like Ancient Harvest, Nature’s Path, Earthly Delights, Roland, Bob’s Red Mill, Arrowhead Mills, Eden Organic and others.

I don’t think you can ever have too many cookbooks, so when I heard about the quinoa cookbook called Quinoa 365: The Everyday Superfood and another cookbook called The Quinoa Cookbook: Over 70 Great Quinoa Recipes, I just had to have all three. The rice cooker/steamer is plugged in and ready for some major cooking and experimenting with quinoa recipes this week and I can’t wait to see how it all turns out.

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