Quinoa is deserving of its super-food status. It's so nutritious, being higher in protein than most other grains with a healthy amount of complete amino acids. It's also an excellent source of magnesium, iron and potassium as well and a good source of copper, zinc and phosphorus. As if that weren't enough, there are many varieties of quinoa ranging in colours from pink, orange, black and purple, to the yellowish variety most commonly found in Canadian grocery stores.
Most quinoa you find in the grocery store has been washed and processed before packaging to remove the saponin, the soapy and bitter resin that can remain after harvesting. But because different manufacturers have different processes, it's never a bad idea to give it a rinse yourself before you cook it to ensure you've gotten rid of that bitter taste.
After you've rinsed and drained the quinoa, boil it for 15-20 minutes using 2 parts water for every 1 part grain. Cook it just until the grains are only slightly crunchy but to the point where they clump together. Be careful, it can easily turn to mush if cooked too long.
For a deeper, nuttier flavour, you can roast the quinoa in a dry skillet for five minutes before cooking it. You can also buy quinoa as a flour, pasta or cereal. Store quinoa grains at room temperature in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place, where it should keep well for up to one year. Quinoa flour is best used within 3 months and should be stored in the fridge.
Add this super-food to your diet with these delicious Tested-Till-Perfect quinoa recipes:
Black and White Bean and Quinoa Salad
Quinoa and Barley Salad
Quinoa Cakes with Lemon Yogurt Sauce