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Sunday, April 6, 2014

Quinoa - The World's Healthiest Food???

Taking the Mystery out of Quinoa

Ok, so lets start with the name...Quinoa -kenwɑ or keinwa or keen-wah   

What is it really??? According to Wikipedia- Quinoa (the name is derived from the Spanish spelling of the Quechua name kinwa or occasionally "Qin-wah") originated in the Andean region of EcuadorBoliviaColombia and Peru, where it was successfully domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago for human consumption, though archaeological evidence shows a non-domesticated association with pastoral herding some 5,200 to 7,000 years ago.

While quinoa is usually considered to be a whole grain, it is actually a seed, but can be prepared like whole grains such as rice or barley.

In the field 

In the pantry

Cooked and ready to eat

Seven Reasons Quinoa is the New Health Food Superstar

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7 Health Benefits of Quinoa
1. High in protein -- its protein balance is similar to milk and has more protein compared to rice, millet or wheat.
2. A good source of riboflavin -- riboflavin helps reduce the frequency attacks in migraine sufferers by improving the energy metabolism within the brain and muscle cells.
3. The saponins from quinoa are used to promote healing of skin injuries in South America, making it a good antiseptic.
4. It's alkaline-forming. Although it is not strongly alkaline-forming, it is comparable to wild rice, amaranth, and sprouted grains.
5. It only has 172 calories per ¼ cup dry quinoa.
6. Since it is not related to wheat or grain, it's gluten-free. Millions are discovering they feel better and lose weight when they reduce gluten grains or at least wheat products. 
7. It is a complex carbohydrate with low glycemic index. This is again good for weight management. I use it in a number of my health Boot Camps.

Simple and easy cooking.

Prepare quinoa as you would prepare rice. Cover it with water or vegetable broth and boil until soft, about 15 minutes. Or, place 1 part quinoa to 2 parts water in your rice cooker. Did you know quinoa also makes a great hot breakfast cereal, similar to oatmeal?

Some ways to use Quinoa!

  • Combine cooked chilled quinoa with pinto beans, pumpkin seeds, scallions and coriander. Season to taste and enjoy this south-of-the-border inspired salad.
  • Add nuts and fruits to cooked quinoa and serve as breakfast porridge.
  • For a twist on your favorite pasta recipe, use noodles made from quinoa.
  • Sprouted quinoa can be used in salads and sandwiches just like alfalfa sprouts.
  • Add quinoa to your favorite vegetable soups.
  • Ground quinoa flour can be added to cookie or muffin recipes.
  • Quinoa is great to use in tabouli, serving as a delicious (and wheat-free) substitute for the bulgar wheat with which this Middle Eastern dish is usually made.

This recipe is from my latest cookbook

Savory Roasted Sweet Potato Salad
Calories: 273      Total Fat: 15.88g      Total Carbs: 27.96g      Dietary Fiber: 5.55g Sugars: 9.24g      Protein: 5.45g

2 medium sweet potatoes (unpeeled) cut in 1/2 inch chunks
1 t salt, for roasting the sweet potatoes
1 T olive oil, for roasting the sweet potatoes
20 oz salad greens
½  c chopped pecans, toasted
½ red onion
1 c cooked brown rice or quinoa

Salad Dressing:
½ c olive oil
¼ c apple cider vinegar
1 ½ T honey
1 lime, juiced
½ c cilantro

Pre heat the oven to 425 degrees. Wash and clean the sweet potatoes. Dice into ½ inch cubes. Place them into a large bowl and mix well with the olive oil and salt. Place the diced potatoes on a sheet pan in a single layer and roast for about 30 minutes, stirring them halfway. I like the potatoes to be caramelized and crispy. For the salad dressing you will mix olive oil, apple cider vinegar, honey, lime juice, and cilantro. Place the salad mix, toasted pecans, sliced red onions, rice or quinoa, and the potatoes together. Add the dressing and toss to coat. Serves 4-6.

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