Signup to receive email updates

or follow our RSS feed

follow our RSS feed

Blog Banner

Simply Nutritious, Quick and Delicious

Jenna Smith, Extension Educator brings you helpful tips to make meals easy, healthy and tasty!
Quinoa Pixabay

Crazy for Quinoa

Today's blog post is written by Illinois State University dietetic student, Allyson Weier!

Switch up your usual side dish with one that is bursting with nutrients and flavor; try quinoa (pronounced keen-wah)!

Quinoa looks like a grain and is typically prepared like one, but it is actually a seed. It is native to South America, but because of its high tolerance to different climates, it is now grown in more than 50 different countries. It is typically found in three colors: red, white, and black. However, there are actually about 120 known varieties of quinoa. Although the differences in color are intense, all varieties of quinoa are similar in nutritional value. The main difference is their texture after they are cooked. Red and black quinoa tend to be crunchier and hold their shape better than white quinoa, which is more light and fluffy. Regardless of the color, quinoa can be consumed in a variety of ways.

In general, quinoa has a rich, nutty taste to it, with black quinoa being sweeter than the rest. It is important to rinse quinoa with water before cooking because it has a coating around it that fights off pests, giving it a naturally bitter taste if left on. Quinoa is gluten free and high in protein. In fact, it is one of the few plant foods that is a complete protein! This means that it contains all of the essential amino acids that our bodies need for healthy functioning. These nine amino acids are not made by the body, so we need to get them through our diet. They help our bodies make proteins, break down food, repair tissues, and perform other functions. Essential amino acids are easily obtained through the consumption of meat, which includes all nine of them. While plant foods contain some essential amino acids, they do not contain every one. Quinoa is a good protein for people who do not consume meat and need to obtain all essential amino acids in other ways. It makes for a great meat substitute! Quinoa is also a source of fiber, magnesium, vitamin B, iron, potassium, calcium, phosphorus, vitamin E, and various antioxidants.

Quinoa Salad (Printable PDF)

1 cup low sodium vegetable broth or water

½ cup dried quinoa, white variety preferred

1 cup cucumber, diced

½ cup red onion, diced

1 cup cherry tomatoes, halved

¾ cup corn, fresh or frozen

2 Tablespoons olive oil

½ Tablespoon balsamic vinegar

salt and pepper to taste

In a medium saucepan, bring vegetable broth or water to a boil. Rinse quinoa; add to saucepan and cover. Cook for 7-10 minutes or until water is absorbed. Take off heat and fluff with a fork. Let sit for 15 minutes. Once cool, add cucumber, onions, tomatoes, olive oil, vinegar and salt and pepper to taste. Mix well and refrigerate at least 2 hours before serving.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Facts (per serving): 260 calories, 8 grams fat, 340 milligrams sodium, 40 grams carbohydrates, 5 grams fiber, 8 grams protein

Please share this article with your friends!
Share on Facebook Tweet on Twitter Pin on Pinterest


Email will not display publicly, it is used only for validating comment