Superfoods – Quinoa the Mother of all Grains. Did you know that quinoa is technically not a grain, but rather a seed? It seems irrelevant though because it is known as the mother of all grains … an ancestral gift of the Incas. First cultivated more than 5,000 years ago in mountainous areas of South America, quinoa had a place in the religious ceremonies of early civilizations as well as home kitchens.
Today, quinoa is classified as one of the “ancient grains,” so-called because their properties have remained largely unchanged for hundreds or even thousands of years. It is primarily grown in the Andes regions of Ecuador, Peru, Colombia and Bolivia. Quinoa plants grow to heights of between one and three meters, producing an annual grain crop in colors ranging from white, yellow and pink to orange, red, brown and black. The most common varieties available in stores are white, red and black quinoa.
It’s easy to incorporate
into your diet by
substituting for rice in any recipe.
As a superfood, quinoa offers human dietary benefits associated with improved organ function and metabolism regulation. Researchers have investigated its role in breast cancer prevention, diabetes and healthy weight management, blood pressure reduction and skin, bone, brain and colon health. Quinoa is a gluten-free energy booster and natural laxative, containing antioxidants and antiseptic properties.
According to the Oldways Whole Grains Council, just one cup of quinoa goes a long way in meeting recommended daily requirements, as follows: 30 percent magnesium, 28 percent phosphorus, 19 percent folate, 18 percent copper, 15 percent iron, 13 percent zinc and 9 percent potassium, plus small amounts of vitamins B1, B2, B3 (niacin), B6 and E, and calcium. All of this comes with only 222 calories, 39 grams of carbohydrates and a measly 4 grams of fat.
Quinoa is readily available at local supermarkets and health food stores. It’s easy to incorporate into your diet by substituting for rice in any recipe. Use quinoa in baking or as a breakfast grain; it also works well in hot side dishes, cold salads and even in burgers.
Quinoa seeds are coated with a compound called saponins, which creates a foam during cooking and causes a slightly bitter taste. It’s advisable to remove any residual saponins from the seeds before cooking by placing in a sieve and running under cold water to rinse thoroughly. Drain and you are ready to easily cook fluffy quinoa in the same manner as rice.
Combine one part quinoa seeds with two parts water and salt to taste, in a saucepan, keeping in mind the seeds will expand to about three times the original volume during cooking. Bring to a boil, then decrease heat to maintain a gentle simmer until the quinoa has absorbed all the water (10 to 20 minutes, depending on amount). Remove from heat, cover and allow to steam for five minutes, causing grains to open. Uncover, fluff with a fork and season to taste.
Quinoa Veggie Burger (Vegan)
1/2 cup of cooked quinoa
1 cup gluten-free flour (quinoa, amaranth,
almond or coconut flour)
2 tbs. raw coconut oil (divided)
2 medium cloves of garlic, crushed
1 medium to large red onion, minced
3 cups organic spinach (or collards, stems
removed), finely chopped
2 carrots, peeled and minced
1/2 red or orange bell pepper, seeds removed
2 stalks celery, minced
1 tbs. cumin (divided)
Sea salt (to taste)
1/2 tsp. ground pepper
Cayenne pepper (optional)
Method of Preparation
In a frying pan, heat 1 Tbs. coconut oil with the garlic and onions for approximately 3 minutes
Add the spinach or collards, carrots, bell pepper and celery and cook for 2 minutes, then add half of the cumin.
Adjust seasonings to taste with sea salt, and maybe cayenne pepper if you like it spicy.
Sprinkle quinoa with the rest of the cumin and pepper.
Turn off the heat and transfer contents of frying pan into a mixing bowl. Add flour and quinoa to the mixture and stir well until everything is coated. Set aside and clean frying pan while mixture cools.
Heat the pan on high and add the remaining 1 tbs. of coconut oil. Make patties from the quinoa-veggie mixture in the bowl, each about 3 inches in diameter.
Cook each burger on both sides until brown and crispy.
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