Organic quinoa is a product we offer at Pleasant Hill Grain and since it’s a fairly uncommon ingredient, we thought you’d like to know a little about it. Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) has been around for thousands of years and is often considered a grain—like wheat or rye—but is actually in the same food family as spinach, Swiss chard and beets!
Characteristics: There are generally 3 colors of quinoa available; an off-white, red and black. Cooked quinoa seeds have a mild nutty flavor, are crunchy, fluffy and translucent. The little “tail” on cooked quinoa is the partially detached white germ. Quinoa is gluten free and easy to digest. To bring out the nutty flavor even more you can roast the quinoa before cooking. To dry roast: place quinoa in a skillet over medium heat and stir constantly for 5 minutes.
Health Benefits: Quinoa is a complete protein (has all nine essential amino acids), very rich in lysine and contains good amounts of phosphorus, iron, fiber, magnesium, calcium, potassium and is a good source of healthy monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid.
Before Using: The outer coating of quinoa contains saponins which are bitter tasting, water-soluble phytonutrients. Before cooking place the quinoa into a fine-mesh strainer, rinse with cool water while gently rubbing the quinoa seeds together with your hands. Rub the quinoa until the water runs clear, then drain the water off and taste the seeds; it they’re still bitter, rinse again.
Uses: You can grind quinoa into flour for pancakes, cookies, pasta, muffins and breads. It can be used in soups/stews, salads, casseroles, chili, meatless burgers, pilafs, salads, stir-fries and desserts. It really could be used in many types of food and replaces rice well. One cup dry quinoa makes about 3 cups cooked and takes only 15 minutes to prepare. The general ratio is 1 cup quinoa to 2 cups liquid. Cooking in vegetable or chicken broth adds a richness of flavor. A nice side dish can be made with cooked quinoa by adding some butter or oil, salt and pepper and any other favorite seasonings. Sprouted quinoa can also be added to many types of food including salads, sandwiches or blended into smoothies.