Quinoa, Its Merits and a Couple of Recipes

A couple of weeks ago, I mentioned quinoa on my facebook page, Nourish With Karen.  Quinoa is an amazing seed which we eat like a grain.  It is a complex carbohydrate which contains all 9 essential amino acids, making it a complete protein.  As a complex carbohydrate which is high in fiber and protein, it digests slowly making us feel full longer and keeps our blood sugar lower.   It is quick cooking, gluten free, easy to digest, high in magnesium, iron and trace elements.  It is no wonder the ancient Incas called it the Mother of all grains! 

Quinoa is very versatile.  In its seed form it can be cooked in 15 minutes, eaten like rice, as a porridge or cooled and used in a salad.  Quinoa can be processed and used as a gluten free flour in baking or as a gravy thickener.  It can also be bought flaked like oats and used like oatmeal in porridge, cookies and even pablum for babies.  It is also used to make gluten free pasta.

I urge you to introduce quinoa into your daily eating habits!  Get familiar with it, replace some of the potatoes, rice and pasta that you eat with quinoa.  If you need some ideas Quinoa 365, by Patricia Green and Carolyn Hemming is a great start!  This cookbook contains recipes from breakfast, appies, soups, stews, entrees, bakes goods to desserts.  They cover it all.  

QUINOA GREEK SALAD

  • 2 cups cooked, cooled quinoa
  • 1/4 cup finely chopped red onion
  • 1/2 cup chopped green pepper
  • 1/2 cup chopped red pepper
  • 1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/4 cup sliced black olives

Dressing:

  • 6 Tbsp olive oil
  • 2 Tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp dried oregano or 1 Tbsp fresh oregano
  • 1/4 tsp sea salt
  • pepper to taste

Combine ingredients.  Refrigerate and allow to sit for at least an hour before serving.  

MOIST QUINOA CHOCOLATE CAKE*

  • 2 cups cooked, cooled Quinoa
  • 1/3 cup milk, or substitute coconut or almond milk
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 3/4 cup butter, melted & cooled
  • 1 cup honey, melted
  • 1  cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt

Preheat oven to 350F (180C).  Line the bottom of two 8-inch cake pans with parchment paper.

Combine the milk, eggs, honey and vanilla in a blender or food processor.  Add 2 cups of cooked quinoa and the melted butter, blending until smooth.

In a medium bowl, stir together the cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt.  Add the contents of the blender to the bowl, mixing well.  Divide the batter between the 2 pans and bake in the center of the oven for 40 to 45 minutes or until a knife inserted in the center comes out clean.  Remove cake from the oven and cool completely in the pan before removing.  Frost if desired.

*Adapted from Quinoa 365