Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Quinoa (pronounced Keen-Wah)

What you didn’t know about Quinoa

• Quinoa is actually a seed from the Goosefoot plant. It may be used as a grain, but it is not a grain.
• Quinoa should be rinsed before cooking to remove the outer coating, saponin, which has a bitter taste. This is the reason why the water becomes soapy when rinsing.
• Quinoa is high in protein, calcium, iron, vitamin E, and B vitamins.
• It is considered a complete protein because it contains all 8 essential amino acids.
• Quinoa is gluten free.
• It has more than half the amount of protein as other grains, such as barley, corn, and rice.
• Quinoa should be stored in the refrigerator.
• Quinoa is great cold in salads, in casseroles, soups, stir fry, or as a substitute for rice.

A few years ago I discovered a great recipe for Quinoa from the American Institute for Cancer Research test kitchen.  Give it a try.

Quinoa and Black Bean Salad

This substantial summer salad offers a healthful balance between vegetables and protein. It provides a wide range of textures, colors and seasonings.

1 1/2 cups quinoa
1 1/2 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
1 1/2 Tbsp. red wine vinegar
1 1/2 cups cooked corn (fresh, canned or frozen
1 red bell pepper, seeded and chopped
4 scallions, chopped
1 tsp. garlic, minced fine
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
1/4 cup fresh coriander leaves, chopped fine
1/3 cup fresh lime juice
1/2 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. ground cumin
1/3 cup olive oil

Rinse quinoa in a fine sieve under cold running water until water runs clear. Put quinoa in a pot with 2 1/4 cups water. Bring to a boil, then cover and simmer 20 minutes or until water is absorbed and quinoa is tender. Fluff quinoa with a fork and transfer to a large bowl and allow to cool.
While quinoa is cooking, in a small bowl toss beans with vinegar and salt and pepper to taste.
Add beans, corn, bell pepper, scallions, garlic, cayenne and coriander to the quinoa. Toss well.
In a small bowl whisk together lime juice, salt, cumin and add oil in a stream while whisking. Drizzle over salad and toss well with salt and pepper. Salad may be made a day ahead and refrigerated, covered. Bring to room temperature before serving.

Nutritional Information:
Makes 6 to 8 entrée servings or 16 side-dish servings.
Per serving as a side dish: 140 calories, 6 g. total fat (less than 1 g. saturated fat), 19 g. carbohydrate, 4 g. protein, 3 g. dietary fiber, 153 mg. sodium.

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