Quinoa is one of the most popular ancient grains, which have been grown by different communities all over the world for centuries but were side lined after the 1800s, when faster-growing, higher-yielding wheats took over. However, ancient grains are rapidly becoming more sought after these days as they’re grown in an eco-friendly way. They also offer more nutrition advantages than over-processed modern grain products and can be easier to digest than traditional wheat. Each type of ancient grain has something different to offer, so it’s good to eat a variety. Read on for a selection of our best quinoa recipes such as this tasty Southwestern chicken, brown rice and quinoa dish.
Quinoa, pronounced ‘keen-wah’ or ‘kee-nuh-wah’, dates back a few thousand years, when the Incas first realized the quinoa seed, taken from a weed-like plant named goosefoot, was fit for human consumption. They believed it increased the stamina of their warriors and it’s been a staple part of the diet in the Andes region of South America ever since. The quinoa plant can grow up to nine feet tall and the seed heads can be a range of colors including red, purple, orange, green, black or yellow.
Quinoa was the first ancient grain to appear on the mainstream market around 2010 and recipes for quinoa have become a favorite in the kitchen, such as this white bean, peppers, brown rice and quinoa dish which offers variety to regular rice dishes. Of all the ancient grains, quinoa has the highest protein content, making it a good alternative for those who don’t eat meat or animal products.
White, red and black quinoa grains are most commonly used in cooking; it is best to rinse them first to remove its slight bitter taste. Quinoa takes just 10-15 minutes to cook, when it becomes fluffy and creamy with a crunch. It has a delicate nutty flavor, making quinoa recipes easy to incorporate into any meal; sweet or savory, hot or cold, such as these juicy quinoa stuffed peppers. Quinoa is handy for bulking up a salad or adding variety to vegetarian dishes and it can also give extra texture to meat and rice meals; try this authentic southwestern black beans, brown rice and quinoa recipe.
Try adding this ancient grain to most of your meals and snacks. There is no end to the easy quinoa recipes you can choose from to add a protein punch to your diet; simply sprinkle quinoa into your breakfast oats, stuff it in your lunch wrap, add it to your assortment of cakes and breads, or add an extra layer to your dinner, like in this hearty steak, peppers, brown rice and quinoa dish. Once you’ve learned to love this ancient grain you’ll never turn back.