Quinoa: The “New” Ancient Grain

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So you may (or not) have been hearing about a “new” food. Quinoa. If you are like me, you probably said “Um, exsqueeze me? Keen-what?”

Quinoa – pronounced “keenwha” not “kween noah”, like I thought – is a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a grass. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is currently limited. Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America, where it has been an important food for 6,000 years. Its name is the Spanish spelling of the Quechua name. Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source.[4] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.[4]Wikipedia

 Quinoa in space? Awesome!

So what does all that gobbldey-gook mean? It’s healthy. (contains all 9 essential amino acids. That’s protein. ) And it is the only grain that is a complete protein! (1) 1/4 cup serving contains 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and has lots of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). It’s tasty. It’s budget-friendly ($2.99 avg price per pound. 1 pound makes about 11 servings. That’s $0.27 per serving!) 

It’s also super easy to cook. 

Quinoa Cooking Basics

Cooking quinoa is super easy. Got 10-15 minutes? If you can boil water, you can cook quinoa. Basic cooking recipe is this: 

1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid. Bring liquid and quinoa to a boil, reduce heat to low (how low can  you go? how low can you go? *hee hee*), cover and simmer 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. That’s it! Told ya it was easy. 

I like to cook quinoa in vegetable stock, to bump up the nutrition even more. Use it as a replacement in recipes for couscous and brown rice. It’s cooked texture is light and fluffy, just like couscous. It’s possibilities are endless. All hail quinoa!

Where to buy:

Fresh & Easy

Henry’s Farmers Markets

Trader Joe’s

Sprouts Farmers Market $3.99/lb bulk section

Whole Foods Market $2.99/lb bulk section

It may/may not be available in “conventional” grocery stores. I limit my shopping in those types of stores. If you find it in one, let us know where and what the price was!

Uncooked Quinoa

The SoCal FruGal

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Quinoa: The "New" Ancient Grain

So you may (or not) have been hearing about a “new” food. Quinoa. If you are like me, you probably said “Um, exsqueeze me? Keen-what?”

Quinoa – pronounced “keenwha” not “kween noah”, like I thought – is a species of goosefoot (Chenopodium), is a grain-like crop grown primarily for its edible seeds. It is a pseudocereal rather than a true cereal, or grain, as it is not a grass. As a chenopod, quinoa is closely related to species such as beets, spinach, and tumbleweeds. Its leaves are also eaten as a leaf vegetable, much like amaranth, but the commercial availability of quinoa greens is currently limited. Quinoa originated in the Andean region of South America, where it has been an important food for 6,000 years. Its name is the Spanish spelling of the Quechua name. Quinoa was of great nutritional importance in pre-Columbian Andean civilizations, being secondary only to the potato, and was followed in importance by maize. In contemporary times, this crop has become highly appreciated for its nutritional value, as its protein content is very high (12%–18%), making it a healthy choice for vegetarians and vegans. Unlike wheat or rice (which are low in lysine), quinoa contains a balanced set of essential amino acids for humans, making it an unusually complete protein source.[4] It is a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. Quinoa is gluten-free and considered easy to digest. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned spaceflights.[4]Wikipedia

 Quinoa in space? Awesome!

So what does all that gobbldey-gook mean? It’s healthy. (contains all 9 essential amino acids. That’s protein. ) And it is the only grain that is a complete protein! (1) 1/4 cup serving contains 6 grams of protein, 3 grams of fiber and has lots of micronutrients (vitamins and minerals). It’s tasty. It’s budget-friendly ($2.99 avg price per pound. 1 pound makes about 11 servings. That’s $0.27 per serving!) 

It’s also super easy to cook. 

Quinoa Cooking Basics

Cooking quinoa is super easy. Got 10-15 minutes? If you can boil water, you can cook quinoa. Basic cooking recipe is this: 

1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid. Bring liquid and quinoa to a boil, reduce heat to low (how low can  you go? how low can you go? *hee hee*), cover and simmer 10-15 minutes. Remove from heat and fluff with a fork. That’s it! Told ya it was easy. 

I like to cook quinoa in vegetable stock, to bump up the nutrition even more. Use it as a replacement in recipes for couscous and brown rice. It’s cooked texture is light and fluffy, just like couscous. It’s possibilities are endless. All hail quinoa!

Where to buy:

Fresh & Easy

Henry’s Farmers Markets

Trader Joe’s

Sprouts Farmers Market $3.99/lb bulk section

Whole Foods Market $2.99/lb bulk section

It may/may not be available in “conventional” grocery stores. I limit my shopping in those types of stores. If you find it in one, let us know where and what the price was!

Uncooked Quinoa

The SoCal FruGal

Recipe Review: Whole Foods Market’s Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa

Gen X Moms has moved to www.GenXMomsBlog.com. Don’t forget to update your bookmark!

At my house, I like to do 2 dinner meals a week that are vegan. Not just vegetarian, or lacto-ovo, But vegan. (Meaning no animal products, what-so-ever, in case you didn’t know). Which is a fairly recent development. 

We had been doing lacto-ovo vegetarian meals once a week. And I felt pretty smug with myself about it. Until I took a free “How To Be a Nutritarian” class at my local Whole Foods Market (and by local I mean 24.1 miles from my house). The concept they are teaching is based on Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s books Eat For Health.  

There I discovered that for optimum health, humans should be consuming animal-sourced protein on very limited weekly basis. Instead of the thrice daily basis Americans currently practice. Uh-oh. Did I mention we are serious carnivores? 

Fast-forward a few weeks later to now. When I planned my our dinner menus for this month and was searching for vegan menu options, I cam across this meal. Since Jeff loves stuffed bell peppers, I thought we could give it a try. My modifications are in red.

Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa

Serves 6 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 1 hr. 15 min

There will be looks of envy from the meat-eating crowd when you serve this colorful and delicious entrée of bell peppers stuffed with mushrooms, carrots, spinach, quinoa and cashews. For a beautiful presentation, choose a combination of green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan

1 red onion, chopped

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms – omitted

1 cup chopped carrots

7 bell peppers (1 cored, seeded and chopped; tops removed and reserved from remaining 6 then cored and seeded)

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/4 pound baby spinach – frozen chopped spinach

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon – omitetd after reading recipe reviews

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions 

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews – used pecans, since that is what I had on hand

Method

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until transparent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes more. Add carrots and chopped peppers, cook until just softened, then add parsley and spinach (in batches, if needed). Let spinach wilt then stir in cinnamon, cumin and cooked quinoa and toss gently to combine. Add salt, pepper and cashews and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Set aside to let filling cool until just warm. 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- x 13-inch baking pan with oil then set aside. 

Divide quinoa mixture evenly among remaining 6 bell peppers, gently packing it down and making sure to fully fill each pepper. Top each pepper with its reserved top then arrange them upright in prepared pan. Cover snugly with foil and bake, checking halfway through, until peppers are tender and juicy and filling is hot throughout, about 1 hour. Transfer to plates and serve. 

Nutrition

Per serving (1 pepper/about 10oz/283g-wt.): 250 calories (90 from fat), 10g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 280mg sodium, 36g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 9g protein 

The review:

To quicken the cooking process, I boiled the peppers a little while making the filling, then baked it in the oven for 1/2 the time called for in the recipe. I loved the texture juxtapositions with the crunch from the nuts mixed with the fluffy texture of the quinoa. The flavor in the recipe as written I found to be a little lacking, so bump up the salt a little bit and add in or increase other spices. Cayenne pepper, cumin, ginger – all would work. Overall, I give it 3 stars as is, bump up the flavor and it gets 5.  

Cheers!

The SoCal FruGal

Recipe Review: Whole Foods Market's Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa

At my house, I like to do 2 dinner meals a week that are vegan. Not just vegetarian, or lacto-ovo, But vegan. (Meaning no animal products, what-so-ever, in case you didn’t know). Which is a fairly recent development. 

We had been doing lacto-ovo vegetarian meals once a week. And I felt pretty smug with myself about it. Until I took a free “How To Be a Nutritarian” class at my local Whole Foods Market (and by local I mean 24.1 miles from my house). The concept they are teaching is based on Dr. Joel Fuhrman’s books Eat For Health.  

There I discovered that for optimum health, humans should be consuming animal-sourced protein on very limited weekly basis. Instead of the thrice daily basis Americans currently practice. Uh-oh. Did I mention we are serious carnivores? 

Fast-forward a few weeks later to now. When I planned my our dinner menus for this month and was searching for vegan menu options, I cam across this meal. Since Jeff loves stuffed bell peppers, I thought we could give it a try. My modifications are in red.

Roasted Bell Peppers Stuffed with Quinoa

Serves 6 Prep time: 10 minutes Cook Time: 1 hr. 15 min

There will be looks of envy from the meat-eating crowd when you serve this colorful and delicious entrée of bell peppers stuffed with mushrooms, carrots, spinach, quinoa and cashews. For a beautiful presentation, choose a combination of green, red, orange and yellow bell peppers.

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil, plus more for oiling the pan

1 red onion, chopped

1/2 pound sliced mushrooms – omitted

1 cup chopped carrots

7 bell peppers (1 cored, seeded and chopped; tops removed and reserved from remaining 6 then cored and seeded)

1/2 cup chopped parsley

1/4 pound baby spinach – frozen chopped spinach

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon – omitetd after reading recipe reviews

3/4 teaspoon ground cumin

1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed and cooked according to package directions 

Salt and pepper to taste

1/2 cup roasted, salted cashews – used pecans, since that is what I had on hand

Method

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally until transparent, 8 to 10 minutes. Add mushrooms and cook until softened, 4 to 5 minutes more. Add carrots and chopped peppers, cook until just softened, then add parsley and spinach (in batches, if needed). Let spinach wilt then stir in cinnamon, cumin and cooked quinoa and toss gently to combine. Add salt, pepper and cashews and cook 1 to 2 minutes more. Set aside to let filling cool until just warm. 

Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350°F. Grease a 9- x 13-inch baking pan with oil then set aside. 

Divide quinoa mixture evenly among remaining 6 bell peppers, gently packing it down and making sure to fully fill each pepper. Top each pepper with its reserved top then arrange them upright in prepared pan. Cover snugly with foil and bake, checking halfway through, until peppers are tender and juicy and filling is hot throughout, about 1 hour. Transfer to plates and serve. 

Nutrition

Per serving (1 pepper/about 10oz/283g-wt.): 250 calories (90 from fat), 10g total fat, 1.5g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 280mg sodium, 36g total carbohydrate (7g dietary fiber, 6g sugar), 9g protein 

The review:

To quicken the cooking process, I boiled the peppers a little while making the filling, then baked it in the oven for 1/2 the time called for in the recipe. I loved the texture juxtapositions with the crunch from the nuts mixed with the fluffy texture of the quinoa. The flavor in the recipe as written I found to be a little lacking, so bump up the salt a little bit and add in or increase other spices. Cayenne pepper, cumin, ginger – all would work. Overall, I give it 3 stars as is, bump up the flavor and it gets 5.  

Cheers!

The SoCal FruGal