There has been a lot of buzz about quinoa lately, but it’s far from a new product. It has been grown in the Andes for over 5,000 years. The Incas called it the “mother seed” and believed that it provided power and stamina for their warriors. But Spanish conquistadors destroyed the quinoa fields in the sixtee nth century, and it became rare. It wasn’t until the 1980s that North Americans learned about the plant and its benefits.
Due to the way it is used in cooking, many people think that quinoa is a grain. But it’s actually the seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant, which is related to beets and spinach. This hardy plant grows at high altitudes and can thrive in poor soil and extreme weather. Up to a cup of seeds can be obtained from each plant.
The benefits of quinoa are many. One of the most noteworthy is its high content of complete protein. This means it has large amounts of all nine of the essential amino acids, making it a great food for vegetarians. It is also a great source of manganese, magnesium, iron, tryptophan, copper and phosphorus.
Like whole grains, quinoa is excellent for promoting good heart health. It has also been found effective in preventing childhood asthma, gallstones, and Type 2 diabetes. Its high magnesium content has been shown to decrease the incidence of migraines. It is also an alkaline food, so it helps promote immune system health and weight loss. And it’s a wonderful gluten-free grain substitute for those who have Celiac disease or are on gluten-free diets for other reasons.
Quinoa can be used in cooking in a number of ways. It is often simmered and eaten as a cereal, but it may also be added to casseroles, soups and salads. Quinoa flour may be used to make pasta. It can also be used in baked goods, but it must be combined with wheat in order to do so.
Here is an easy quinoa recipe to try:
• 1 Tbsp. ground flax seeds
• 2 Tbsp. water
• Olive oil spray
• 1 onion, chopped
• 1 celery stalk, chopped
• 3 cloves garlic, minced
• 1 carrot, shredded
• 3 Tbsp. barbecue sauce
• 1 cup cooked quinoa (Put one part quinoa to two parts water in a saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to simmer, cover and cook for 15 minutes.)
• 1 cup cooked black beans
• 1/3 cup bread crumbs
• 1/3 cup walnuts
• 2 tsp. soy sauce
• 1 tsp. salt
• 1 Tbsp. olive oil
1. Simmer flax seeds with water for five minutes. Set aside to cool.
2. Spray skillet with olive oil spray. Add onion and celery and cook over medium heat for about 14 minutes.
3. Add garlic, carrot and barbecue sauce and cook for 1 minute.
4. Place mixture in food processor and add quinoa, beans, bread crumbs, walnuts, soy sauce, flax seed mixture and salt. Pulse until ground. Form into patties and refrigerate for 1 hour.
5. Heat olive oil over medium heat. Cook patties for 6 minutes on each side.