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Why Quinoa Is My New Favorite Grain

Posted Apr 01 2009 11:19pm

My very smart veteran vegetarian sister tried to get me into Quinoa (pronounced “keen-wah”) a couple of years ago but I guess I just wasn’t ready …because I ignored her.

But the recent shortage of organic brown rice in Australia and a huge promotion of Quinoa in the Body Ecology Diet has pushed me into experimenting with this grain over the last couple of weeks. And wow have I been missing out! I should have listened to my sister in the first place.

Why Quinoa is so great

  • First of all it tastes great which is a big plus. I’ve prepared Quinoa with both sweet and savory dishes and both have been fantastic. I actually prefer it to oats and rice.
  • Quinoa is one of the most easily digestible grains (and gluten free!) so it’s good for all of us. Keep in mind that even though this grain is more easily digestible, it’s still best to soak and ferment all grains before you eat them.
  • It’s a complete protein so great for vegetarians and vegans or anyone that needs more protein in their diet.
  • Very high in manganese and a good source of magnesium, iron, tryptophan, copper and phosphorous.

You can buy Quinoa as a whole grain or flakes. The whole grain is better because it’s not processed so better for your body, but I’ve still been using both. They’re both cooked in much the same way, the flakes just cook a lot quicker. Kind of like the difference between cooking whole oats and quick oats.

Quinoa grains
Quinoa whole grains

Quinoa flakes
Quinoa flakes

How to cook Quinoa whole grains

Because it’s recommended that you soak and ferment your grains before you eat them, I cooked up a big lot of Quinoa yesterday which I’m keeping in the fridge and using when I need it. I will last 3-5 days like this refrigerated.

It’s very easy to prepare. Just put 1 cup of Quinoa grains into a bowl then cover it with enough filtered water to completely soak the grains. Then add about a tablespoon of Grainfields B.E Wholegrain Liquid (you can also use kefir, yoghurt or lemon) to ferment the grains, then leave it to soak overnight.

You don’t have to soak the grains before you cook them but it’s recommended for better digestion. And I hear that Quinoa can have a bitter aftertaste if not soaked for at least two hours. I’ve never noticed this aftertaste so I guess the soaking really does work.

If you do soak the Quinoa, before you start cooking the grains pour the excess water out and give them a rinse.

After soaking and fermenting you cook it like rice. Use 2 cups of water to every 1 cup of Quinoa (or 1.5 cups of water if you like it al dente). Note that the Quinoa will have expanded overnight with the soaking but you don’t want to use this new measurement for the water. If you started with 1 cup of dry Quinoa, then just use 2 cups of filtered water.

Boil the water in a saucepan then add the Quinoa (you want the water to be really bubbling before you add the grains). Turn the heat down to medium-low and simmer covered for 15 minutes, or as long as it takes for most of the water to absorb. The grains should “pop” open (you’ll know what I mean when you see it).

To make your Quinoa fluffy, turn the heat down to medium and stir until all the water has been absorbed.

Vegetable and Quinoa curry

Serves: 1

This is my new favorite dish. I’ve made this for breakfast and a modified version for dinner. It’s also great accompanied with scrambled eggs.

Ingredients

  • Roughly 1/2 cup of cooked Quinoa
  • Coconut oil
  • 1/4 onion, chopped finely
  • 1 heaped teaspoon of curry powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon of herbamore
  • Cooked and chopped vegetables of your choice (I love carrot, zucchini, squash, pumpkin, cabbage, etc)

Loving preparation

Heat the coconut oil on medium in a large frying pan. Add the onion and cook until soft. Then add the curry powder and herbamore and coat the onion for a couple of minutes. Stir in the cooked vegetables and let the flavors mix together for a minute or two.

Serve with the cooked Quinoa and add more herbamore to taste.

Quinoa porridge

Serves: 1

This recipe is very easy to make and a great filler for breakfast (it feels me up a lot more than oats). It’s also good for those of us with a sweet tooth!

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup of Quinoa flakes
  • 1 cup of filtered water
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • nutmeg to taste
  • 1/2 tablespoon of coconut oil
  • your sweetener of choice (eg stevia, honey, agave, maple syrup)
  • 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla (the real stuff, not the fake vanilla essence)

Soak the flakes overnight using the same method as the wholegrains above. Make sure you strain and rinse the flakes before you cook them.

Boil the water in a small saucepan. Add the Quinoa flakes, coconut oil, cinnamon and nutmeg and reduce the heat and simmer for about 15 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in your sweetener to taste and the vanilla.

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