Saturday, June 3, 2017

Quinoa Salad With Mediterranean Flavors

We have many new products in our grocery store and one of those is Quinoa.  We even have choices in type of Quinoa or seasoned mixes with Quinoa.

Quinoa is a “pseudo-cereal.”  A food is cooked and eaten like grains and have a similar nutrient profile. Botanically, quinoa is related to beets, chard and spinach, and in fact the leaves can be eaten as well as the grains.  Quinoa is actually a seed.

It’s not surprising that quinoa supports good health, as it’s one of the only plant foods that’s a complete protein, offering all the essential amino acids in a healthy balance. Not only is the protein complete, but quinoa grains have an usually high ratio of protein to carbohydrate, since the germ makes up about 60% of the grain. (For comparison, wheat germ comprises less than 3% of a wheat kernel.) Quinoa is also highest of all the whole grains in potassium, which helps control blood pressure.

What’s more, quinoa is gluten free, which makes it extremely useful to the celiac community and to others who may be sensitive to more common grains such as wheat – or even to all grains in the grass family.

Quinoa is all the rage and has become the hottest trend in restaurant side dishes.  Dishes made with Quinoa are highlighted in many cooking shows. Today, an amazing range of products are made with quinoa, from breakfast cereals to beverages.   Quinoa pasta is popular among those following a gluten-free diet, and the grain is a favorite ingredient in granolas, breads, and crackers. Home bakers can try “ancient grain” blends or cook with quinoa flakes and flours.

Quinoa has quickly become a favorite of whole grain cooks, because its tiny grains are ready to eat in just 15 minutes!  You can tell when it’s done, because you’ll see that little white tail– the germ of the kernel – sticking out. Like couscous, quinoa benefits from a quick fluff with a fork just before serving.

Quinoa has a subtle nutty taste that marries well with all kinds of ingredients. But make sure you rinse it well before cooking: quinoa grows with a bitter coating, called saponin, that fends off pests and makes quinoa easy to grow without chemical pesticides. While most quinoa sold today has had this bitter coating removed, an extra rinse is a good idea to remove any residue.

For more information on Quinoa, read this article from the Whole Grains Council

 Here is a link to a tasty salad that will be the hit at your next BBQ and it can be ahead of time.

Quinoa Salad With Mediterranean Flavors - Recipes Article

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