The Food and Agriculture Organization may have named 2013 the International Year of Quinoa; however, this grain-like superfood is here to stay. Quinoa is packed with plant based flavonoids and anti-inflammatory compounds that provide a myriad of health benefits.
We cook and eat quinoa like we do many other grains, but you may like to know that it is not a grain at all! Here are four great reasons to add quinoa to your plate in 2016:
- Quinoa is easy and quick to cook compared to other whole grains.
- Quinoa taste great on its own or as a side dish to almost any meal.
- Quinoa is high in protein and provides all 9 essential amino acids. Not to mention it is gluten-free and cholesterol-free.
- There are over 100 different kinds of quinoa!
What is Quinoa?
So, with that said, what exactly is quinua? Here are the facts you need to know.
- For starters, it’s pronounced KEEN-wah and it’s a plant!
- We talk about quinoa like is a grain; however, it is not.
- You eat the seed of the quinoa plant.
- Quinoa contains all nine of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.
- You can only get essential amino acids from food.
- The most common types of quinoa are white red and black.
- Red is more often used in meals and cooking because it holds its shape.
- Black has an earthier, sweeter taste.
- You can also shop for quinoa flakes and flour.
- Cultivation of this protein is dated back to pre-Columbian civilizations in the Andes of Peru and Bolivia.
- This may be because quinoa can survive and grow in harsh climates.
Let’s Get Cooking!
Here are three easy recipes to get you cooking!
1. Whole Wheat Banana Quinoa Pancakes
Makes about 10 pancakes. Top with peanut butter, maple syrup, fruit, or chocolate chips.
1 cup cooked quinoa
3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon coarse salt
3 large egg whites (about 1/2 cup)
1/3 cup plain greek yogurt
2 tablespoons of milk of your choice (skim, soy, almond, coconut)
2 tablespoons brown sugar (you could also use honey or maple syrup)
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
2 large very ripe bananas, pureed
- In a medium bowl, whisk together quinoa, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. In another medium bowl, whisk together egg whites, yogurt, milk, vanilla, and brown sugar until smooth. Add egg mixture to flour mixture and whisk to combine. Add pureed bananas and mix until just combined.
- Lightly coat a large nonstick skillet or griddle with butter or cooking spray and heat over medium. Drop batter by 1/4 cup onto skillet. Cook until bubbles appear on top, about 2 minutes. Flip cakes and cook until golden brown on underside, 2 minutes. Wipe skillet clean and repeat with more melted butter and remaining batter.
Recipe from: Ambitious Kitchen
2. Clean Eating Quinoa Tortillas
Makes 18 sturdy, fill-you-up tortillas. They are best eaten warm.
4 cups quinoa flour
3/4 cup brown rice flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon olive oil
1-1/4 cup hot water
- Combine all ingredients in a bowl. Mix, knead (until you have a smooth dough) and separate into about 18 balls.
- Press each ball into a flattened tortilla. Use a tortilla press if you have one available.
- Place the tortillas in an un-oiled, non-stick pan and cook for about 1 minute on each side.
- Enjoy fresh tortillas right from the pan!
Recipe from: The Gracious Pantry
3. Quinoa Breakfast Hash Browns
1/3 cup quinoa (I used a tri-color blend of quinoa for mine, but any color will work)
2/3 cup water
1 1/2 cups peeled and grated raw potato
1 large egg
1 teaspoon fine grain sea salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
1 tablespoon butter
2 green onions
Combine the water and the uncooked quinoa in a pot and bring to a boil. Once boiling, cover the pot and reduce heat to a simmer for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, turn the heat off and leave the covered pot on the burner for another 6 minutes. Gently fluff the quinoa with a fork and allow the quinoa to cool.
In a large bowl, mix the cooked quinoa with the egg, grated potato, pepper, and salt. Heat a large skillet over medium heat and melt 1 1/2 teaspoons of butter in the pan. Scoop 1/3-½ cup of the quinoa mixture into the pan and flatten out the hash brown patty with the back of a spatula. Cook the hash browns for 5-7 minutes on each side until golden brown. Repeat process with the remaining mixture.
Recipe from: A Beautiful Mess