Quinoa nutrition has only recently come to the attention of the rest of the world as the newest popular health food on the market. It’s being labeled by many as a “superfood” because of the nutrients found in it. This article takes a look at what it is, what quinoa nutrition values are, and recipes that are delicious and healthy.


What Is Quinoa? 


quinoa in a bowl

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Quinoa (pronounced KEEN-wah) is the seed of the Chenopodium quinoa plant from the amaranth family and is an ancient South American grain that has been a part of their culture for thousands of years. It can be found in Chile, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia, and contrary to popular belief, it’s actually not a grain, but a pseudo-cereal, a seed that is prepared and consumed like a grain. What surprises people most is the fact quinoa is actually the seed of the plant because quinoa is so similar to actual grains. It’s considered higher in nutrients than grains.

If you look for them at your local supermarket, the most common version you’ll find is the white quinoa. There is also black and red available, and well as yellow. The yellow is harder to find, and most general supermarkets will only have the other three colors. Out of the three, the white variety is the least crunchy after cooking and has a milder flavor than the others. There are many other varieties but are harder to find outside of South America. During the 1980s, the United States began growing quinoa in Colorado; however, the bulk of quinoa is still imported from South America.

Usually, you can find quinoa pre-packaged or even in bulk. It is usually cooked in a similar fashion to rice, with about two parts liquid to one part dry quinoa. Another great thing about quinoa is that it’s considered gluten-free and is also now being ground and used as flour. This can help with gluten-free diets or those with celiac disease.


Nutritional Values

Foods on the bowl

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The amazing features of quinoa nutrition are reflected in the high protein found at about 8g per 100g serving, or about ¾ cup. Quinoa is considered to be a complete protein source, which means that it provides all the essential amino acids, which can only be acquired from a diet because the human body doesn't have the ability to produce them. Also, with the amount of protein found in quinoa nutrition, it can contribute to an increased metabolism and reduced hunger, making it a great staple of a diet plan.

Other items included in a 100g serving of quinoa are about 5g of fiber, approximately 33g of carbohydrates, and around 4g of fat. It also contains around 19% daily value of folic acid, making it higher than refined grains such as rice or corn. It has a healthy mix of other nutrients, and quinoa nutrition also includes a mix of soluble and insoluble fibers.

Quinoa nutrition is an excellent source of many other nutrients, including calcium, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, and potassium. In quinoa nutrition, you can also find quercetin and kaempferol, which are two of the many known flavonoids, have shown in some studies to be anti-inflammatory. Another nutritional value is a low glycemic index, which is great for someone watching their blood sugar.


Delicious Recipes


Due to quinoa being considered a grain, it can be used to produce a different number of food products, such as flour and pasta. Quinoa can also be found in many types of recipes such as salads, soups, and also used as a base for alcohol products like beer. Quinoa has a subtle nutty taste that makes it a versatile ingredient; it’s able to be interchangeable with rice, allowing it to be used in any recipe. However, it’s usually prepared on its own to be served as a complimentary dish. Take a look at the following recipes.


Avocado Breakfast Bowl

  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons olive oil
  • 1/4 cup red quinoa
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 1 avocado, diced

Instructions

  1. Stir water and quinoa together in a rice cooker; cook until quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes.
  2. Heat olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and cook eggs to desired doneness; season with seasoned salt and pepper.
  3. Combine quinoa and eggs in a bowl; top with avocado and feta cheese.


Cranberry and Cilantro Quinoa Salad

Quinoa salad

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  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
  • 1/4 cup red bell pepper, chopped
  • 1/4 cup yellow bell pepper, chopped
  • 1 small red onion, finely chopped
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons curry powder
  • 1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
  • 1 lime, juiced
  • 1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds
  • 1/2 cup minced carrots
  • 1/2 cup dried cranberries
  • salt and black pepper to taste

Instructions

  1. Pour the water into a saucepan, and cover with a lid. Bring to a boil over high heat, then pour in the quinoa, recover, and continue to simmer over low heat until the water has been absorbed, 15 to 20 minutes. Scrape into a mixing bowl, and chill in the refrigerator until cold.
  2. Once cold, stir in the red bell pepper, yellow bell pepper, red onion, curry powder, cilantro, lime juice, sliced almonds, carrots, and cranberries. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Chill before serving.

You and your family will be glad you decided to try such yummy treats. All of these recipes are just an example of the different ways someone can use quinoa to create a dish anyone would enjoy and come back for seconds. If you like those recipes, try some of these listed below utilizing quinoa in a tasty way.

Quinoa-Crusted Fish Nuggets with Tartar Sauce

Have a fish bake with all the fixings. Fried fish gets a quinoa makeover with a great homemade tartar sauce that is nutritious and delicious.
View the recipe here.

Quinoa-Crusted Chicken Nuggets

Not a fan of fish? Try these delicious chicken nuggets and serve with sriracha or your favorite sauce. It's a great way of using leftover quinoa.
View the recipe here.

Egg-Topped Quinoa Bowl

A salad with a variety of greens, combined with quinoa, tomatoes, and pancetta, with an egg on top, with the runny yolk to serve as a dressing. Don't forget to add the hot sauce!
View the recipe here.

Lemon-Garlic Shrimp with Radish and Green Bean Quinoa

quinoa vegetable

Radishes turning pink will compliment the quinoa and the green beans, adding to already flavorful lemon-garlic shrimp and the crunchy red onion.
View the recipe here.

Quinoa Taco Salad

No better way to create a meatless tex-mex fiesta than this salad, and it also includes sweet potatoes, black beans, and corn. Serve over greens or in a taco shell. Grab the salsa and queso!
View the recipe here.

Sausage, Shrimp, & Quinoa Skillet

This dish packs a wallop with spicy chicken sausage and shrimp. Much more delicious than dirty rice, and good for you.
View the recipe here.

Buffalo Quinoa Burgers

Need a new idea for a veggie burger? Look no further than this tasty sauced up delight.
View the recipe here.

With all these great ideas, sometimes quinoa can turn out to be bland. A great way to increase the flavor of quinoa is to use broth instead when preparing. It will give it an added flavor you might be missing. If you're unsure if quinoa is something you would enjoy eating, start simple and use it as a substitute for rice or oatmeal. Try it for breakfast instead of cereal or oatmeal, or toss some cooked quinoa into that healthy smoothie you've been dreaming of. Perhaps instead of a veggie burger, you might add quinoa and sweet potatoes to ground beef to make a more filling burger.

If you're looking for something along the lines of dessert, you might try substituting quinoa for rice or tapioca and make a great tasting pudding. You can always add ingredients to jazz it up, such as jalapenos, chiles, cilantro, and garlic. Also, another great tip for cooking quinoa is that if it turns out too mushy for you, use less liquid to cook it in. This will allow the tasty quinoa nutrition to shine through for more lightness instead of mushiness.

Conclusion

Quinoa flakes

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The benefits from quinoa nutrition may be the latest "fad" people are scrambling to be a part of, but there's no doubting its versatility and tastiness. It's growing popularity as a substitute for rice and as a handy side dish will ensure that the demand won't fade away anytime soon. With populations all over the world increasing, quinoa serves as a high-quality alternative in some areas.

With the demand, countries are looking into the possibility of growing quinoa within their own borders. If you take the protein, carbohydrates, amino acids found in quinoa nutrition, and combined it along with the ability to grow it in other countries, this could lead to being able to provide nutrition to millions of malnourished or health impaired people worldwide.

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