By now, most of us have heard about quinoa, and maybe have even incorporated it into our diets on the regular. Either way, there are so many reasons to get to know the teeny edible seed a little better. After all, it’s a Passover-friendly powerhouse in and out of the (pseudo)-grain salad bowl. Read on for all of the details!
Native to the Andes Mountains, quinoa has been a staple crop of the region for several thousand years. Despite being relatively new to the United States in terms of popularity, it’s almost impossible to go into a grocery store nowadays without running into quinoa in one of its colorful forms or in a slew of products. Typically stocked next to rice or pasta, you can even choose between conventional, organic and domestically grown varieties. To keep the cost down, you can often find big bags of the stuff at wholesale clubs, or just buy however much you need for a recipe from the bulk section of your local health food store.
Despite its small size, quinoa delivers a hearty dose of complete protein in a vegan-friendly, gluten-free, high-fiber package. The seed earns its “superfood” moniker by being a terrific source of B vitamins along with folate, vitamin E, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc and potassium. Beyond those solid nutrition stats, its nutty flavor is a welcome addition to so many foods, both savory and sweet.
When choosing quinoa, try to pick up rinsed varieties to reduce the naturally occurring saponin coating the outside. This chemical’s bitter taste and tendency to cause mild stomach, umm, troubles is the seed’s natural protection against pests. Don’t let that dissuade you from trying these recipes, though. An extra rinse before cooking should keep you in the clear.
1. Sushi Veggie Roll: Next time you make sushi, consider swapping in quinoa for the usual sticky white rice. Even though these rolls are meat-free, the extra protein from the switch will help keep you satisfied. (via Modern Granola)
2. Strawberry Quinoa Pancakes: Cook up a big batch of quinoa ahead of time and stash it in the freezer. With that prep work out of the way, you’ll be flipping for these nutty pancakes in no time at all. (via Recipe Runner)
3. Honey Almond Quinola: Boost your next batch of granola by teaming up quinoa with heart-healthy oats and almonds. It’s just as delicious munched on solo as it is added to milk or sprinkled over yogurt. (via Clean, Cheat, Repeat)
4. Green Goddess Glow Bowl: You’ll get glowing in a jiffy with these 20-minutes-to-the-table bowls. Tired of kale? Go ahead and swap in collard greens for an equally healthy and delicious experience. (via The Glowing Fridge)
5. Chocolate Banana Quinoa Muffins (Gluten-Free): Put leftover quinoa to use in these I-can’t-believe-these-are-actually-healthy muffins. They’re so moist and rich, you’ll never guess they’re oil-free. (via Kitchen Confidante)
6. Cheesy Mushroom Quinoa Casserole: We’re guessing Grandma never served a casserole quite like this. Loaded with veggies, quinoa and tons of creamy, cheesy goodness, it’s a great dish to whip up when you’re craving a more wholesome alternative to mac and cheese. (via The Iron You)
7. Mandarin Orange Quinoa Bowl: Look familiar? We love whipping up this almond-sprinkled delight in the morning. The coconut milk complements both the nutty quinoa and sweet mandarins featured in this powerhouse breakfast. And with all that protein, it’ll keep you going strong until lunchtime. (via Brit + Co)
Are you a fan of quinoa? What are some of the ways you enjoy using it? Share with us in the comments!