Wednesday, August 8, 2012
Today I wanted to highlight a whole grain (er, seed) that a lot of people still don't know that much about. I grew up in a small town in southern Idaho where we were very much a meat and potatoes kind of family. Our food was never very creative and we very seldom branched out and tried something new. However, I was never much of a meat eater. I don't really know why this is. I love animals and even gave up hunting with my dad because I just felt bad about killing animals. I once hit a squirrel while driving and pulled over just to mourn the loss and apologize to the squished lil' guy. I'm not anti-hunting or anti-meat eating. I understand that people need it for survival, for the most part.
I was a vegetarian from 4th grade until my sophomore year of high school when my mom got on a kick that I "needed more protein" and had me eat a taco which in turn, made my stomach that was not used to fatty protein, VERY sick. I eventually did start eating more meat but as I'm sure many family members will tell you, it doesn't happen that often and I'm very picky. Since I've been on this eating as clean as possible kick, I've been looking into different protein sources. Enter: quinoa. What? A seed/pseudo grain that has protein? Yes, please! It's not just any protein either. It's QUALITY protein. Quinoa is said to be the best plant-based protein out there and that if someone who could eat only one food for survival, quinoa would be it because it is a nutritional dream with its protein among other nutrients. It doesn't really have a flavor so it is nice to add in a lot of different dishes. I wish I had known about quinoa when I was a vegetarian.
Where to buy quinoa?
I believe that most stores carry quinoa these days. If you've never had it before, I wouldn't suggest going to Costco and getting the gigantic bag of it. Whole Foods definitely carries it but I've seen it in the bulk bins at several grocery stores.
How do you make it?
I usually boil mine and then let it simmer for about 15 minutes (obviously, follow the direction on the package). You can also roast quinoa to get a crunchiness. I throw some black beans and diced tomatoes with quinoa for a quick, protein-packed lunch. My husband makes a lentil, chili-type dish with quinoa in it. You can throw it in soups. It's pretty flexible and like I said before, it doesn't have a distinct flavor so you can get creative with this seed.
I challenge you to try quinoa if you haven't. I'm going to add a link to an interesting website that is all about quinoa with recipes and other nutritional information. It looks like there are various types of quinoa so my goal will be to try a kind that I've never had before in the near future.