"Quinoa is suitable for a gluten-free diet and contains all 9 essential amino acids making it a complete protein," explains Claire Bedel, clinical dietitian at Franciscan Health Lafayette East. "This and its high protein content of 8 grams per cup make quinoa an excellent source of protein for vegetarians and vegans, which is rare for a single plant food."
You can find quinoa in the grocery aisle near rices and other grains. Quinoa comes in red, black and white varieties, though I've not noticed significant differences in taste among them.
"Quinoa is very simple to prepare," Bedel said. "Add one part quinoa to two parts water to a pot, bring to a boil, remove from the heat, and let sit for 20 minutes until it becomes light and fluffy. Add some olive oil or another healthy fat to give it some flavor and help you absorb the many nutrients."
Before you cook, though, first rinse the quinoa under cold running water to help remove its outer shell. Doing this step is critical. I'd failed to rinse my quinoa once, and the effect was disasterous: very crunchy and an odd taste that Bedel described as bitter and soapy.Our registered dietitians recently shared these two terrific quinoa salad recipes during our recent HeART for Health event in Indianapolis. These meatless meals are quick to prepare, and make a simple lunch to throw in a container for the office.
By Robbie Schneider
Social Media Manager