Quinoa: Health Benefits and Cooking Tips
Quinoa: The Grain-Like Seed
This hub’s mainly about getting quinoa onto your plate: quick and easy. You can make up your own mind about the health blurb. If you Google 'quinoa' you'll get all the guff.
However, here's a quick rundown of the pros. (Other than price, I don't know of any cons):
- Quinoa has the nine essential amino acids the body needs for muscle-building protein, and fibre for a healthy colon. Quinoa has minerals like magnesium for relaxing your muscles and blood vessels, manganese and copper antioxidants, which protect against cancer, and it has more calcium, phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, iron, copper, manganese, and zinc than wheat, barley, or corn.
- Quinoa takes about 15 minutes to cook, but if you bring it to the boil and then simmer it at the lowest heat possible, you can go about your morning routine, and not worry too much about it sticking to the bottom of the pan. (It’s not as starchy as rice and other grains because it’s more a seed than a grain.) It'll take longer, but you won't have to stand over it. (Just a suggestion.)
No Frills Nutrition
Quinoa Cooks in 15 mins
Here’s the Quick Recipe
- 100g (1cup) of uncooked quinoa,
- 2 cups of water
- Seasoning to your taste.
- 1 heaped tablespoon of oatmeal
- 2 eggs.
- 200g chopped raw vegetables.
- Rinse the quinoa well in a sieve, and bring it to the boil in 2 cups of water.
- Simmer for 10–15 minutes.
- Mix the cooked quinoa, with the rest of the ingredients raw, in a microwavable bowl.
- Microwave for 15–20 minutes.
- Slice it and eat it.
A Wee Bit More of the Blurb
Health gurus recommend whole grains nowadays, but quinoa isn't really a grain; it's a seed. It's more nutritious than grains, with amino acids, fibre, vitamins and minerals, enzymes, phytonutrients and antioxidants.
Use the Following Mixture for a Variety of Dishes
- 100g (1cup) of uncooked quinoa,
- 1 medium onion chopped.
- 1 level dessertspoon of bouillon mix.
- 2 heaped tablespoons of quinoa flour (any flour, or oatmeal will do)
- 2–3 eggs.
- 200g chopped raw vegetables (whatever ya fancy).
- Rinse the quinoa well in a sieve, put it in a saucepan and bring it to the boil in 2 cups of water; then simmer for 15 minutes on the lowest heat possible.
- The quickest way to prepare this mixture is to dump the cooked quinoa into a bowl with the other ingredients raw, and mix well. If you do that in the morning, you’ll save time in the evening. You could cook it in the morning, but you’ll lose vitamins that way.
- So, if you can, leave it raw, then, when mealtime arrives, give it full pelt in the microwave for about 15–20mins. You can cook it, then, serve it, from the same mixing bowl to cut down on dirty dishes. You can carve it directly from the bowl; it has a similar texture to meatloaf.
That’s the quick way to get quinoa into your face using the recipe. If you want the vitamins in the vegetables to survive the cooking process, don’t cut the vegetables too fine: the thicker the better. If you're trying to deceive the kids into swallowing green stuff, you can mask the taste, or the texture of the vegetables, by mincing or even blending them. It’s a bit of a trade off.
Seeds and Omega Oils: Good for the BrainClick thumbnail to view full-size
If you like, you can line the bowl by greasing it with olive oil and coating it with oatmeal. Then you can upend it when it’s cooked; it’ll slice like meatloaf, but let it stand a while before you turn it, to give it time to bind, or it might not come out in one piece. You can shape it into a log, on a plate, or a tray, coat it with course oatmeal, and, or, sprinkle it with your favourite seeds, like sesame, sunflower, pumpkin, poppy, whatever you like. Seeds are full of the essential omega oils 3, and 6. They form the membrane around the neurons in your brain. They protect your heart, joints, and immune system too. That sounds essential enough to me. If you have a moment, it’s worthwhile Googling something like: “What will Omega oils do for me?”
If you want to put some colour around it, to impress the kids, or guests, you can dust it with a mild paprika for red, or turmeric for yellow. Microwave it for convenience, but you can brush it with olive oil, and stick it under the salamander (grill) to give the seeds a nice toasted finish.
You can use the mixture, with, or without the vegetables, to make veggie-burgers; don’t overcook the quinoa, and you’ll get a minced-meat texture. You can even make scotch eggs with it—leave out the vegetables for this—and it’s best to shallow fry.
If you find the mixture a bit sloppy to work with, when you leave out the vegetables, make up the difference with more soy flour, quinoa flour or oatmeal, or just use less egg.
The variations are endless, but the main thing about the basic recipe is it’s quick and packed with nutrition. (See the Quick Recipe at the top of the page, if you’re a busy Mum or whatever.) Although freezing can rob you of some of the vitamins, (life is full of compromises, for most of us) you could easily freeze this for your future convenience. You won't need to go hunter gathering around the supermarket for pizzas and frozen gunk full of empty calories when you’re tired and irritable. This is a meal in itself.
© 2010 amillar