I bet quite a few of you have been wondering what’s up with quinoa (prounounced “Keen-Wah”). Quinoa has become popular over the last few years because it has more protein than any other member of the grain family. In fact, it can contain up to 50% more protein than common grains and is higher in many other nutrients as well!
Quinoa: Whole Grain or Not?
Interestingly, quinoa is considered a “pseudograin”. Pseudograins, like aramanth, flaxseed and buckwheat, are technically not grains as they come from a broad leaf plant. Our more familiar wheat, corn, rice and oat grains come from a grass plant.
Quinoa is actually a fruit! However, nutritionists still consider it a grain and in its unprocessed form is considered a whole grain.
Nutrient Profile of Quinoa
There are many different varieties of this grain including white, sweet, red and black. Although different varieties will have slightly different nutrition, they are all a great source of protein at over 8g per cooked cup, which is 16% of the daily value!
Quinoa also contains:
- Saponins (a phytochemical)
- 15% of the daily value for Iron
- 5 g fiber per cooked cup
- 30% of daily value for magnesium
- 28% of daily value for phosphorus
- 58% of daily value for manganese
- 18% of daily value for folate
- > 10% of daily value for thiamin, riboflavin, vitamin b6, zinc and copper
Cancer Dietitian’s Favorite Quinoa Recipe:
This is my favorite Quinoa recipe. I must admit, I got it from Whole Foods! You can alter the ingredients however you want!
Quinoa Salad: Serves 4 to 6
- 1 cup cooked corn
- 1 1/2 cups cooked and chilled quinoa
- 1 15 ounce can black beans (drained and rinsed)
- 1 cup sliced jicama (if you don’t know what this is, ask your produce person! You will need to cut off the skin before slicing it, and it adds a great crunch!)
- 1/2 cup walnut halves & pieces (toasted (or not toasted))
- 2/3 cup feta cheese crumbles (if you like feta; I personally leave this out)
- 1/2 cup roasted red peppers (sliced)
- Chipotle Ranch dressing (I buy the 365 brand; it complements the other ingredients and renders a great flavor!)
- 3 cups washed and dried baby spinach
- To prepare corn, take 2 ears corn, grilled in husk, then cut free from cob (sometimes I just heat frozen corn!).
- To prepare quinoa, boil with 2:1 water to quinoa, just like rice.
- Gently toss corn, cooked quinoa, black beans, jicama, walnuts, feta cheese and roasted peppers together with about 2/3 cup dressing in a large bowl.
- Arrange spinach on a large platter and top with quinoa mixture.
Enjoy!! Next article I will have more on quinoa and how you can use it in your existing recipes!