If you eat only one grain this year, quinoa is the one to choose. Pronounced KEEN-wah, its germ (the equivalent to the yolk of an egg) is the most power-packed part of any known seed. In most grains, the germ is little more than a speck, but quinoa’s germ completely surrounds the rest of the seed. This helps explain why quinoa contains up to 20% high quality protein. The United Nations World Health Organization considers quinoa to be closer to the ideal protein balance than any other grain. Additionally, it’s high in B vitamins, iron, zinc, potassium, calcium, and vitamin E, and it’s gluten-free. A superfood by any definition!
I should mention that although many consider quinoa to be a grain, it’s actually the seed of a plant called chenopodium, which is related to beets, chard, and spinach.
Quinoa can be found in bulk bins of many grocery stores, or packaged on the shelves. Its color ranges from a light tan to a reddish-brown. The reddish-brown can take a little longer to cook, but I’ve mixed the two colors together without any trouble.
As a general rule, I don’t keep cooked grains in the refrigerator for longer than a 3 – 4 days, and some people cut it off at 2 days. And keep in mind, quinoa freezes beautifully. To defrost, just throw it in the microwave for a minute, depending on the strength of your microwave.
1 1/4 cups Vegetable Stock or water
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 clove garlic, smashed
freshly ground pepper
1 cups quinoa
- Combine all the ingredients except the quinoa in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil over high heat.
- While the stock is coming to a boil, place the quinoa in a bowl of cold water to wash it. Gently rub the quinoa between your palms. Using a fine mesh strainer, drain and repeat two more times. Quinoa is coated with bitter natural substance called saponin. Although quinoa has been processed to remove this coating, the grain should still be thoroughly washed.
- Add the quinoa to the boiling stock, cover, and reduce the heat to a simmer. Simmer for about 12 minutes, or until the stock has been absorbed. The grain should be translucent, and its thin germ curlicue white.
- Remove from the heat and let rest, covered, for 5 minutes. Fluff with a fork.