Simply beautiful...

Simply beautiful...

Monday, September 27, 2010

Quinoa - the Mispronounced Grain Option

As a wife and mother trying to cook healthfully for my family... I have sometimes found myself at a loss as to what to serve for dinner. In the past, I would put our weekly menu together and find myself tired of the same whole-grain choices: brown rice, whole wheat pasta, whole wheat bread, etc. When I went through my dietetics program, I was introduced to a vast array of foods in our cooking courses. One of the things introduced to me for the first time was quinoa (pronounced keen-wah). This single grain has given my cooking a boost for several reasons.

I consider quinoa a powerhouse grain in that it has more to offer nutritionally than others. It is higher in protein (7g per serving) than other grains and is considered a complete protein, providing all eight essential amino acids. Quinoa cooks faster than other grains and is a good source of fiber (3g per serving), magnesium, iron, folate and phosphorous. I love that it can be fairly versatile, being able to be used in place of rice, pasta or other grains and is great as a hot cereal or as a salad or side dish. Quinoa is also becoming more and more available at regular grocery stores. So next time you're trying to think of a side dish or a grain option for your meal... check out quinoa and see why it's become a staple in my kitchen.

Try one of my favorite quinoa recipes that I found in a Cooking Light magazine:
Quinoa Salad with Peaches
(makes 4 servings)

***To cook the quinoa:
Bring 1 and 1/2 cups water to a boil in a medium saucepan; add 3/4 cup uncooked quinoa. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 20 minutes. Fluff and cool quinoa slightly.

***For the salad stir in:
1/4 cup minced red pepper
1/4 cup chopped green onions
3 Tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 & 1/2 Tablespoons olive oil
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 & 1/2 teaspoons honey
1/4 teaspoon black pepper
1 sliced ripe peach

Chill salad, serve and enjoy!

Serving size is ~1 cup. Calories: 196; Fat: 7.1g (sat 0.9g); Sodium: 245mg


  1. So what does Quinoa taste like? Does it taste like any other food that you could use for example??

  2. Quinoa has a mild nutty flavor with a light, fluffy texture - a little bit like couscous. I think it is best substituted for rice and like I mentioned above, it makes a GREAT side/salad dish :)