Quinoa is high in protein and lacks gluten, which makes it a wonderful choice for vegetarians, vegans and people with gluten intolerance.
The quinoa that we eat are actually quinoa seeds. They appear in red, black or commonly yellowish white (ivory). They are also high in magnesium, iron, phosphorus & dietary fiber. Every 100 g of cooked quinoa contains relatively high amount of (0.24 g) of amino acid lysine (Lys / K), with positively charged (basic) side chain in its biochemical structure. Lys is essential for tissue growth and repair.
Quinoa is also a source of vitamins B2 (riboflavin) and B9 (folate). Riboflavin may help reduce the frequency of migraine attacks through improving the cellular metabolism. Folate is essential for formation and development of new and normal body tissue.
Quinoa – affectionately referred to as the gold of Incas – originates from the Andean region of Ecuador, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru, in Latin America. The Incas referred to quinoa as mother of all grains.
In 2013 International Year of Quinoa, The United Nations General Assembly paid special recognition to Andean people of Peru who have prepared “a future sown thousands of years ago” through knowledge and practices of living in sync with mother nature. Harmonious living is one of our values, and I am happy to support such an ancient superfood. Yes, quinoa is listed as one of the superfoods for brains in the book 365 ways to boost your brain power by Carolyn Dean, Valentine Dmitriev, and Donna Raskin. It appears that quinoa is potentially good for our children to learn better, our parents and grandparents to minimize risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases, and ourselves to do better work.
For #AtoZChallenge on 2014 April 19 Sat, I lovingly present a recipe of warm nutty quinoa meal with avocado and tomato by ServicefromHeart. While you prepare this meal or enjoy it, listen to El Condor Pasa (If I could).
Our favorite versions include the one by Simon & Garfunkel.
Preparation time: 5 minutes
Cooking time: 20 minutes
♥ 1 cup quinoa
♥ 2 cups water
♥ 1/4 tsp salt
♥ 1 avocado
♥ 2 ripe tomatoes
♥ 2 tbsp nuts (almond / pistachio / cashew / walnut)
♥ 2 tbsp fresh herbs of basil / parsley
♥ 2 tbsp sesame oil
♥ 2 tbsp balsamic vinegar
♥ 1 tsp honey
♥ 1/2 tsp pepper
♥ 1 clove garlic, minced
1. Rinse quinoa thoroughly to remove any toxic saponin.
2. Boil quinoa in salted water over medium heat for 5 minutes. Lower heat and simmer until water is absorbed.
3. Meanwhile, mince garlic, cut avocado and tomatoes into bite chunks. Quickly coat avocado chunks with balsamic vinegar to prevent them from turning dark.
4. After quinoa is cooked, fluff it.
5. Mix warm quinoa with sesame oil, honey, pepper, garlic.
6. Toss the mixture with avocado and tomatoes.
7. Garnish with nuts & herbs.
♥ For better flavor, (1) if you have extra time, before boiling, lightly toast quinoa and nuts separately, until fragrant and (2) boil quinoa in broth instead of water.
♥ Toast over medium or low heat and stir constantly.
♥ Besides using balsamic vinegar, you can also coat avocado chunks with lemon juice.
♥ To fluff quinoa, I prefer using chopsticks – delicate extensions of human fingers. Fork is okay to fluff them too.
Other recipes that I love:
♥ Heidi Swanson’s warm and nutty cinnamon quinoa- for breakfast- at 101 Cookbooks
♥ Susan Voisin’s quinoa vegetable paella at FatFree Vegan Kitchen
♥ Lydia Walshin’s quinoa salad with tomatoes, feta and parsley at Perfect Pantry
♥ Tara Austen Weaver’s China Forbes quinoa at Tea and Cookies