What is packed with protein, filled with fibre, and downright easy to digest? Meet quinoa, the superhero of seeds.
Although commonly referred to as a grain, quinoa is a seed related to the spinach plant. Quinoa contains all of the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. Quinoa is also a good source of complex carbohydrates, iron, calcium, vitamins B and E, magnesium, and manganese.
Easy to prepare
Uncooked quinoa resembles couscous or millet. Its shape is more flattened, however, and it bears a characteristic ring that jets out like a little tail when cooked. The white variety is most common, but quinoa is also available in red, black, and even purple hues.
Quinoa seeds have a natural bitter coating that protects them from insects and birds. Although much of this coating is removed through processing, rinsing it for a few minutes will help eliminate any residual bitterness; use a sieve to strain the water through the quinoa.
To cook, combine one part uncooked quinoa with two parts water. Bring to a boil in an uncovered saucepan, then reduce heat to low, cover pot, and let simmer for 12 to 13 minutes. Turn off heat and let sit for a few minutes. It can then be served hot, or cooled to use in salads.
Cooked quinoa has a light, almost fluffy texture, lending itself well to salads, side dishes, and also storing for leftovers. Quinoa can also be prepared much like oatmeal for a nourishing hot breakfast cereal, added to soups and chilis, or tucked into sandwich wraps.