What Is Quinoa? Benefits of Quinoa | And much more

What is quinoa

What is quinoa? Quinoa has become very popular of late as it has been cultivated in South America for over 5000 years. The Incas already used quinoa as food. Many think that quinoa is a grain, but it is not. But what is quinoa and how can you prepare it?

What is quinoa? 

  1. Quinoa is not a grain but the seed of the quinoa plant.
  2. It grows at height in South America.
  3. Quinoa contains all the essential amino acids and is high in fiber.
  4. Quinoa can be cooked for 15 minutes and added to other dishes.
  5. Popping quinoa takes 5 minutes.

The Incas considered quinoa a sacred food and called it “the mother of all grains.” We find it tasty and nutritious. You can read everything about preparing quinoa and what quinoa is in this article.  

Quinoa (pronounced ‘kienwaa’) is an ancient food item widely eaten by the Incas. Today we consider it a ‘superfood’, because it contains a lot of good nutrients. The first thought about quinoa is that it is a grain.

However, this is not it. Quinoa comes from the quinoa plant. This is an annual plant and the seeds of the plant are the quinoa that we eat here. These seeds resemble grain, which is why it falls under the grain diet as well. Quinoa is also referred to as a pseudo-grain for this reason.  

quinoa plant

The quinoa seeds are white, orange or black in color, but the white seeds are the most common. Quinoa has a nutty taste and quinoa can be prepared in the same way as rice, for example.  

Quinoa Gluten Free

Many grains contain gluten. However, quinoa is not a grain but a seed and there you have the answer. Quinoa is therefore free of gluten and fits into a gluten-free diet.  

Benefits Of Quinoa

Wine needs amino acids to build up our cells. These amino acids are contained in proteins. Our body can produce the 22 amino acids we need and 13 itself, 9 amino acids must be taken in through proteins in our diet. These are called the essential amino acids. Most vegetable proteins do not contain all 9 amino acids. Quinoa is an exception to this, containing all 9 essential amino acids

Quinoa is seen as a fiber-rich food that contributes to the controlled release of glucose. This also contributes to a constant blood sugar level. This counteracts the feeling of hunger, making you less inclined to snack.  

The fiber in quinoa contributes to a good bowel movement and promotes the good bacteria in the intestines (= intestinal flora).  

Quinoa is gluten-free. It is not a grain but a seed. This makes it suitable for a gluten-free diet.  

Quinoa is easy to incorporate into a diet. It can be a good substitute for rice, for example. In addition, quinoa is also attractively priced in the supermarket.  

What Are Quinoa Flakes?

Quinoa flakes is essentially just pressed quinoa. Each tiny quinoa seed is rolled flat to make a flake, just like an oat is crushed to make oat flakes. That means quinoa flakes have all the same great properties as quinoa: gluten-free, rich in plant-based protein, and packed with good fiber. 

How To Prepare Quinoa?

Quinoa has endless uses. For example, it is good to eat alone, as a substitute for rice or pasta, or processed with other ingredients. It can also be added to soup or a salad. The subtle flavor and fluffy texture make quinoa very easy to season. Due to its taste and texture, it can also be served savory or sweet. 

How To Cook Quinoa?

Cooking quinoa is similar to cooking rice.  

Before cooking, rinse the quinoa in a sieve. This is done to wash off the bitter, soapy coating that naturally forms on quinoa. It’s called saponin and it’s easy to wash off. By the way, the saponin helps quinoa thrive at high altitudes – the coating protects it from the strong rays of the sun and the bitter taste keeps the birds away.  

Quinoa

Take 1 part quinoa and 2 parts water. Place a pan of water on the heat source and bring the water to a boil. To give flavor to the quinoa, a stock cube is added to the water. When the water boils, add the quinoa. Reduce the heat source and put the lid on the pan. Let the quinoa simmer for 15 minutes.  

Don’t be alarmed by the strings that come out of the quinoa grain. This is part of the germ. This is nutritious and simply edible.  

Drain the quinoa in a colander and serve with any prepared vegetables.  

The cooked quinoa can now also be used for making a salad or added to a soup, for example.  

If you want the quinoa to have more flavor, you can dry-roast it before cooking; to dry, place the quinoa in a skillet over medium heat and stir constantly for five minutes. Then it is still cooked as described above.  

Cooking Quinoa In Rice Cooker

Add 1 cup rinsed and drained quinoa to 2 cups water or stock and add a quarter teaspoon salt. 

Place the rice cooker on the white rice setting. 

Let it rest for a few minutes after it’s done cooking, then stir it with a fork to make it fluffy and serve on a platter.  

Cooking Quinoa In Microwave

To prepare 1 cup rinsed and drained quinoa, place 2 cups water or stock and 1/4 teaspoon salt (optional) in a microwave-safe bowl and cover. 

Microwave on high for 6 minutes. Stir the quinoa and microwave again on high for 2 minutes. Remove the bowl from the microwave and keep the bowl covered. Let it sit for 5 to 10 minutes so that it can absorb all the water. Then stir it to make it airy and serve on a plate. 

Making Puffed Quinoa

Although it doesn’t swell as much as popcorn, you can make a tasty snack with popped quinoa. Popping quinoa is a multi-step process, so make it worthwhile and do a few cups at a time.  

Rinse and drain quinoa and place in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper. Bake in the oven at 40 degrees and stir occasionally so that the wet lumps fall apart. Keep doing this until the quinoa is completely dry. This can take 30 to 60 minutes. 

You can pop the quinoa with or without oil, but however you do it, use a high one. Heat the pan over medium heat. If using oil, pour in about a tablespoon. 

Just like you would when making popcorn, sprinkle in a few quinoa seeds to see if the oil is hot enough for them to pop in seconds. When the oil is hot enough, pour in enough quinoa to make a single layer on the bottom. 

Shake the pan while the quinoa pops to prevent seeds from burning and sticking to the bottom. You can do this with a lid, or without a lid as long as the pan is deep enough; quinoa may not jump high, but it does pop. Pop until the seeds are brown and toasted. Remove from heat and immediately pour into a bowl to prevent the seeds from burning. 

Now you can add whatever you want, just like popcorn; salt, sugar, spices whatever you like.  

Quinoa Baking

Quinoa can also be prepared by baking it in the oven. It is not often done but is very tasty. You probably already have most of the ingredients at home; 2 cups quinoa, rinsed, 2 cups garden herb stock, 1 teaspoon grated lemon zest, salt and pepper, 2 tbsp olive oil, 1 tbsp lemon juice.  

Place the baking tray in the middle position of the oven and preheat the oven to 180 degrees. Now combine the quinoa, stock, lemon zest and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a saucepan and bring to the boil for 2 minutes. Now put this mixture in a small baking dish and cover with aluminum foil. Now cook until the quinoa is soft and there is no more liquid left, this will take about 25 to 30 minutes. 

Remove the dish from the oven and stir to make it fluffy. Cover the dish again with foil and let it sit for 10 minutes. Add olive oil and lemon juice and season with salt and pepper. The baked quinoa can now be served.  

What Is Quinoa And How Can You Prepare It?
Three colors of quinoa.

Quinoa Flour

The last way to prepare quinoa is to grind it into flour.  

Like other gluten-free or whole-wheat flours, quinoa can be turned into a very fine flour, which is great in baking, not only because it’s easy to work with, but because you get all the nutrients that are in the seed.  

Start with the whole raw seed (anywhere between 1/4 – 1 cup). 

Add the raw quinoa to a dry skillet and toast the quinoa until it begins to brown and pop. It gives off a distinctly nutty scent. Be careful here as quinoa can burn quite quickly, so keep a close eye on it. 

Once toasted, the quinoa goes into a mixer/blender. Blend the quinoa on high for 1 minute until it is a fine powder. 

Place a fine sieve over a bowl and add the quinoa mixture. Strain until only large pieces remain. Place the flour in a sealable container and let it cool. Once cooled, it can be used in your recipe or stored for later use.  

What is quinoa and how can you prepare it? Everything is now told, so enjoy your meal! 

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