10 Reasons Why You Should Start Consuming Quinoa and How to Cook It - Rivertea Blog
Monica Munteanu | On 04, Jun 2013
Have you heard about quinoa? Lately, it has been on everyone’s tongues and minds and for good reason: it’s a superfood! No, it can’t fly or shoot laser, but it does have super powers, that disguise nutritional benefits.
We know vegetarians love it. If you’re thinking of joining the other side, the meatless way of life, or just cutting down on the amount you eat, then it’s a must for you to learn more about this grain like food. It’s incredibly nutritious and a good source of numerous substances that your body needs.
To start you off, we’ve put together a list of 10 things you should know about quinoa and why it would benefit you to introduce it to your diet.
1. It provides a complete protein, which only animal based products do, like dairy or eggs. So if you’re looking for something new to spice up your breakfast (and lunch and dinner too), you’ve found it.
2. It comes in three different colors: white, red and black. The difference in tastes isn’t notable, so it’s more a choice of how you want your plating to look like. Or just match it to your dinner table.
3. It can take only 15 minutes to cook and it’s good in salads, but also can replace rice in many recipes. When cooking it you should boil a cup of quinoa in two cups of water.
4. It’s rich in magnesium: a single serving supplies you with 48% of the amount recommended daily.
5. One cup of cooked quinoa has only about 220 calories, so not only is it good for you on the inside, it keeps you fit on the outside. Also, it’s the perfect food to have around when you’re on a diet.
6. It’s a great source of fiber: one cup contains 39 g of carbohydrates and 5 g of fiber, almost double the amount that other grains have.
7. It makes for an interesting baking ingredient: you can add it to batter and make cupcakes or other sweets. Just be creative.
8. It’s good for all ages: you can insert it in the food you feed your baby. Quinoa contains histidine, an amino acid that is important for the growth and development of your little one.
9. It can make you smarter: the iron and vitamin B it contains can boost your energy and keep your mind sharp. So if you need an incentive to finish those reports have a bowl of quinoa!
10. It’s a powerful antioxidant. Quinoa has a high content of manganese which fights off free radicals from your cells.
As a last piece of advice, quinoa should be rinsed out thoroughly. In spite of all its healthy characteristics, quinoa is covered with saponin, a toxic chemical that can be challenging to your immune system and stomach. It’s important that you clean it well before you eat it.
Quinoa comes in numerous shapes and forms and gives you countless opportunities to cook and eat it. You can basically add it to anything you desire: salads, cakes, soups or any kind of meat recipe. The possibilities are countless and it will be pretty hard to get bored with it, you just need to let your imagination run wild. But if you’re not that creative in the kitchen, then keep on reading. We’ve looked around and found 4 tasty dishes easy to make for you to try as soon as possible.
1. Black Bean-Quinoa Salad with Basil-Lemon Dressing
- 1 1/2 cups uncooked quinoa
- 3 cups organic vegetable broth (such as Swanson Certified Organic)
- 1 (14-ounce) package reduced-fat firm tofu, cut into 1/4-inch cubes
- 3 tablespoons olive oil, divided
- 1 1/4 teaspoons salt, divided
- 1 cup chopped fresh basil
- 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons Dijon mustard
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
- 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
- 3 garlic cloves, minced
- 1 (10-ounce) package frozen baby lima beans
- 4 cups chopped tomato (about 3 medium)
- 1/2 cup sliced green onions
- 1/2 cup chopped carrot
- 1 (15-ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
Combine quinoa and vegetable broth in a saucepan; bring to a boil over medium-high heat. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 15 minutes or until broth is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Remove from heat.
Place tofu on several layers of paper towels; cover with additional paper towels. Let it stand 5 minutes. Heat 1 tablespoon of oil in a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add tofu; sprinkle with 1/4 teaspoon of salt. Sauté tofu 9 minutes or until lightly browned. Remove from heat; cool completely.
Combine remaining 2 tablespoons oil, remaining 1 teaspoon salt, basil, and next 6 ingredients (through garlic) in a large bowl; stir with a whisk until blended. Stir in quinoa.
Cook lima beans according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Cool completely. Add the lima beans, tofu, chopped tomato, green onions, chopped carrot, and black beans to quinoa mixture; stir gently to combine. Store, covered, in refrigerator until ready to serve.
2. Quinoa Tabbouleh
- 1 3/4 cups water
- 1 cup uncooked quinoa
- 1/2 cup coarsely chopped seeded tomato
- 1/2 cup chopped fresh mint or parsley
- 1/4 cup raisins
- 1/4 cup chopped cucumber
- 1/4 cup fresh lemon juice
- 2 tablespoons chopped green onions
- 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil
- 2 teaspoons minced fresh onion
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
Combine water and quinoa in a medium saucepan; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 20 minutes or until liquid is absorbed. Remove from heat; fluff with a fork. Stir in tomato and remaining ingredients. Cover; let stand 1 hour. Serve chilled or at room temperature.
3. Quinoa Burgers
- 2 cloves garlic, minced
- 1/2 cup pine nuts or pumpkin seeds
- 1/2 cup fresh cilantro
- 1/2 cup raw, diced onion
- 1 cup cooked black beans
- 1 tsp salt
- 3 cups cooked quinoa (1 cup dry)
- 1/2 cup diced sweet red pepper
- Bread crumbs or rice flour (if gluten free)
- 2 Tbs. olive oil
Cook onions if desired. Combine everything except quinoa and bread crumbs/rice flour in food processor or blender. Mix blended mixture and quinoa together. Divide into 6 “burgers”, roll in bread crumbs or flour to make a “crust”. Pan fry in olive oil until browned. If desired, replace cilantro with fresh oregano and add 1 Tbs chili powder and 1 tsp cumin powder.
4. Quinoa with Mushrooms
- 1 tablespoon olive oil
- 1 (8 ounce) package mushrooms, chopped
- 1 onion, chopped
- 1 clove garlic, minced
- 1 tablespoon butter
- 3 cups chicken broth
- 1 1/2 cups quinoa, rinsed
- 1/3 cup grated Parmesan cheese
Heat the oil in a skillet over medium heat. Cook and stir the mushrooms, onion, and garlic in the hot oil until browned, about 5 minutes; set aside.
Melt the butter in a pot over medium-high heat. Add the quinoa to the melted butter and let it brown, about 3 minutes. Pour the chicken broth over the quinoa; bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to low; simmer 10 minutes. Stir in the sauteed mushroom mixture and cook another 2 minutes. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese to serve.
Now that you know what it’s all about and what to do with it, all that remains is to get it in your house and enjoy it. It’s one of the best nutritional gifts you can give to yourself and your family. In closing, we would love to hear more from you: have you tried it, do you like it and what is your favorite way of cooking it?