Keen on Quinoa (Keen-wa)

Got a pleasant surprise in Costco the other day. Saw a giant display of four pound bags of Quinoa. Normally, quinoa is only sold at health food stores. You don’t find it in regular grocery stores often. Also, it usually sells in single pound boxes. This was the usual great Costco bargain, 4 lbs for $10.00, about half the price you would pay at a health food store.
If you are one of the many who aren’t familiar with this “mother of all grains” according to the Incas, read on. First of all, it isn’t really a grain although it looks like one. It is a small seed. Smaller than rice, about the size of couscous. says that quinoa contains more protein than any other grain. An average of 16.2% vs 7.5% for rice, 9.9% for millet and 14% for wheat. Quinoa contains complete protein, all the essential amino acids, unlike corn, wheat and rice which are incomplete proteins.

Wikipedia says that It is also a good source of dietary fiber and phosphorus and is high in magnesium and iron. It is gluten-free and easily digestible. Because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration manned space flights.

Dani Spies, culinary nutritionist and fitness trainer who has her own website at did an excellent presentation on You Tube.

Cooked quinoa is excellent in hot casseroles and soups, stews, in stir-fries, or cold in salads. The seeds cook very quickly, in only 15 minutes. Uncooked seeds may be added to soups and stews as you would barley or rice and quinoa is often substituted for rice in rice dishes. Dry roasting quinoa in a pan or in the oven, before cooking will give a toasted flavor, and it can be cooked in fruit juice to add character to the flavor for use as a breakfast cereal or in desserts. Cold salads consisting of quinoa and chopped vegetables or cooked beans make a quick, easy, and nutritious dish, according to Chet Day.


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