Wednesday, February 2, 2011

FUEL Better: Quinoa

Quinoa
(Keen-wa)

What is quinoa?
Quinoa is not really a grain but the seed of the Chenopodium or goosefoot plant. When the plant blooms and turns to seed, the quinoa can be harvested.  

Why is it special?
Quinoa contains substantially more protein than any other grain. United Nations refers to it as a “super crop” because it can contain as much as 20% protein compared to 7.5% in other grains. It is cholesterol free, gluten free, and easy to digest.

Most importantly the protein in quinoa is complete meaning all 20 amino acids are food in it is nutritional profile. The quinoa seed is also high in calcium and iron and is a good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins.

How do you cook and use it?
It is cooked and used much like grains. You bring it to a boil and let the grains soak up the water then reduce it and let it simmer for 15-20 minutes, fluff it with a fork and serve. The see will actually split open and send the germ spiraling around each grain. It can be used in stew, soups, pilafs, casseroles, stir-fry, and salads.

Where can you find it?
Health food stores, Corner Market, or Kroger’s in the grains sections.

Nutritional Information:
serving: ¼ cup dry or ½ - ¾ cup cooked
Calories: 163
Fat: 3g
Sodium: 5mg
Carbohydrates: 29g
Fiber: 4g
Protein: 6g

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