If you had asked me a decade ago "what is quinoa?", I probably would have said "keenwho?" Since then, this ancient grain has found its way not only into the mainstream, but also my pantry.
It comes in red, white and black varieties and calls spinach and Swiss chard its kin. Maybe you've tried it once or twice, but if you haven't yet added it as a staple in your diet, here are 3 compelling reasons why you should.
Quinoa is one of the few plant proteins that is a complete protein, meaning it has all nine essential amino acids. One cup provides 8 grams of protein along with generous servings of B vitamins, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, copper, manganese and fiber, making it a must-eat for vegetarians and vegans.
Quinoa has a very mild flavor, making it a suitable base for a variety of dishes and flavors. It can be served hot or cold, added to soups, salads, bakes or formed into patties for veggie burgers. Quinoa for breakfast? You bet. Add it to oatmeal or yogurt bowls, muffins, pancakes, waffles, quiches and other egg dishes. Try some quinoa pasta or substitute quinoa flour when baking.
No time? You can have it ready in less than 20 minutes. Not the greatest cook? No sweat. The signature ring around the grain tells you when it's ready. Make a large pot, as it keeps well in the fridge throughout the week.
* RD tip: instead of water, cook in low-sodium chicken or vegetable broth for added depth of flavor.
I hope this has inspired you to add a little more quinoa to your life. I'd love to know how you use it. Get started here with one of my favorite recipes.
And for the real reason you read this post, it's pronounced "keen-wah". Your welcome.