Cooking with Quinoa

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There are many different pronunciations of quinoa floating around, but there is indeed a correct way! Let’s all say it together “KEEN-wah“. Now that we have mastered the pronunciation of the grain, let’s tackle the questions: what is quinoa and how do you cook with quinoa?

What is quinoa?

What is quinoa?

Quinoa is a pseudograin that is packed with all the nutrients necessary to be considered a complete protein, which means ALL the amino acids are found in the seed. The term “pseudograin” means that quinoa is eaten like a typical grain & has a similar nutrient profile to other grains.  However, the superfood is actually in the same family as spinach and beets.

Quinoa is also known for its high protein content compared to other grains. According to the 2015 Dietary Guidelines and the U.S. Healthy Eating Patterns, a person eating at a 2,000 calorie level is recommended 5 1/2 ounce equivalents of protein per day. Since a healthy eating pattern includes a variety of protein foods, quinoa is an excellent protein option to help achieve these recommendations. Plus, quinoa is a fantastic vegetarian and gluten-free alternative!

*For additional calorie level & healthy eating pattern recommendations, refer to the USDA Dietary Guidelines.

How do you cook quinoa?

If you have ever been told that you must rinse quinoa before using it, then you have been told correctly! The tiny seeds are covered with a bitter coating known as saponins.  The saponins are critical to the growing process because it protects the seeds from insects.  Thus, quinoa does not require a chemical pesticide due to the natural saponins that are produced by the grain. Once the pseudograin has been rinsed, you cook quinoa in a 1 to 2 ratio, which means 1 part grain to 2 parts liquid. For example, you would cook 1 cup of quinoa in 2 cups of liquid. Quinoa can be cooked in a rice cooker or on the stovetop!

What do you eat with quinoa?

The nutrient packed pseudograin is the ultimate ingredient for all your dishes! There are 120 different varieties of the seed, but the most common types are the white, red or black quinoa. Whether you are looking to serve quinoa for breakfast, lunch or dinner, there is a recipe waiting for you! Check out these quick & easy recipes that incorporate quinoa.

Blackberry Quinoa Salad from Naturipe Farms
Photo Credit: Naturipe Farms
Lemony Quinoa and Watermelon Salad from Watermelon Board
Photo Credit: Watermelon Board
Pear Roasted Carrot and Ginger Quinoa Pilaf from USA Pears
Photo Credit: USA Pears
Cinnamon Apple Breakfast Quinoa from Simply Quinoa 
Photo Credit: Simply Quinoa
Quinoa Taco Bowl from Lemon Tree Dwelling
Photo Credit: Lemon Tree Dwelling
Quinoa Pizza Crust from The Wholesome Dish
Photo Credit: The Wholesome Dish
Honey Lime Quinoa Fruit Salad from The Recipe Critic
Photo Credit: The Recipe Critic

Expand your plate & incorporate quinoa into your meals! It is time to reap the numerous benefits of this superfood! Have a delicious quinoa recipe? Share it in the comments below to encourage others to try quinoa!

About Lori

Lori Taylor is the Founder & CEO of The Produce Moms. For ten years she sold fresh produce to over 300 grocery stores throughout the United States, and today she is fully focused on working with the produce supply chain, media, and government to increase fresh produce access & consumption in the US and around the globe. Connect with Lori on LinkedIn.

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