Quinoa originated in the Andes Mountains of South America, it is a seed of the goosefoot plant and is also called a “supergrain” although technically not a grain. It is high in protein, and its protein is complete meaning it contains all the amino acids in the balanced amounts that our bodies require.
Quinoa is gluten free (for those that care) and the United Nations has indicated that the amino acid profile of quinoa is superior to that of most other grains and similar to that of casein, the complete protein in cow’s milk.
Unless labeled as prewashed, it should always be rinsed to remove the saponin covering the quinoa which is very bitter.
A favorite recipe in my house is a moroccan inspired Quinoa, Chickpea & Kale dish
2 TBSP Olive Oil, 1 Onion finely chopped, 1 carrot peeled and cut into small bite sized pieces, 5 cloves garlic finely minced, 1/4 tsp ground coriander, 1/2 cup quinoa rinsed, 1 1/2 cups vegetable or chicken broth, 1 cup canned chickpeas rinsed well, 2 Tbsp raisins (golden work well), 1 small bunch kale (2-3 leaves or 6 oz) stemmed and chopped into 1 inch pieces, optional 2 TBSP toasted pine nuts, 1 tsp lemon zest, 1 tsp lemon juice, pinch of salt, pinch of pepper
1. Heat 1 TBSP of the olive oil in a saucepan over medium-high heat, when oil is hot add onions and carrots until the onion is softened, about 5 minutes, then stir in the garlic, coriander and cook for another minute or so, then add the quinoa stirring like crazy until it is toasted
2. Add the broth, chickpeas, raisins, salt, and place kale on top and bring to a simmer. Reduce the heat to low-medium at this point and cover and simmer until the quinoa is transparent and tender (about 20 min). Off the heat stir in the remaining oil, pine nuts (optional), zest and juice from the lemon