Terre Pruitt's Blog

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Quinoa

Posted by terrepruitt on April 19, 2011

I heard about quinoa awhile ago, but I never actually went ahead and bought some to prepare.  I had never had it.  Today I went to lunch at a friend’s house where she made a beautiful and yummy quinoa salad.  I had heard that this grain-like food was GREAT because it had so much protein.  I’ve heard some people use it in place of rice, pasta, or couscous and I was thinking of doing the same thing.  The way my friend prepared it was awesome.  She cooked it, sautéed some vegetables, made a dressing with cilantro, and tossed it all together.  We also added thinly sliced almonds and dried cranberries.  We ate it warm, but it can be served hot, room temperature, cold . . . . however you like it.  It was very good.  I am happy to have finally tried quinoa.

I don’t understand how they categorize things, but quinoa is more closely related to greens such as spinach than it is to a grain.  We tend to treat it like a grain in the way we cook it and think of it nutritiously, but its scientific classification is, as I said related to spinach and we eat the seed.

According to WHFoods, quinoa is a great source of magnesium which helps loosen the blood vessels so it is a good food for migraine suffers to add to their diet.  Even it is actually a seed, as I said they compare it to a grain when it comes to nutrition so it is thought to have all of the health benefits of a whole grain.  Quinoa is gluten free.

A cup of quinoa has 222 calories, 4 grams of fat, 0 cholesterol, 13 mgs of Sodium, 39 grams of carbohydrates, 5 grams of dietary fiber, and 8 grams of protein.  Since it has all nine essential amino acids it is a complete protein.

Even though quinoa has almost twice as much protein and a lot more fiber than white rice, and more than brown rice and couscous, it has much more fat.  A significant amount more.  Here’s some numbers for comparison.

1 Cup of cooked white rice:  calories:  203     fat:  0.4     carbs:  44.1     protein:  4.2     dietary fiber:  LESS THAN 1 gram

1 Cup of cooked brown rice:  calories:  216    fat:  0.4     carbs:  48.1     protein:   5      dietary fiber:  3.5

1 Cup of cooked couscous:    calories:  176    fat:  0.3     carbs:  36.5     protein:   6      dietary fiber:  2.2

I believe it can be a nice substitute for a rice or couscous every once in a while, but I would not consider it as a replacement.  I would like to try it as a breakfast treat with honey and maybe nuts.  I think that would be a good way to start the day. Good protein, fiber, and whole grains.  Quinoa sounds very versatile.  I’ll have to remember to thank my friend again for introducing me to yet another great food.

What about you?  Do you eat quinoa?  How do you prepare it?  How do you eat it?

9 Responses to “Quinoa”

  1. Elaine said

    This is one of my favorite quinoa salads. I like to make it with coarsely chopped prunes (which get a bad rap and are excellent to cook with. Hello, Chicken Marbella!) instead of tomatoes, which improves its shelf life. Even thought I don’t like licorice, I do like fennel in soups and salads. Go figure. BTW, I’ve had really bad luck (as has another friend of mine) with the red quinoa from Trader Joes not fluffing up, so even though it looks visually interesting I’d steer clear of it.

    http://www.foodfixe.com/foodfixe/2009/07/mediterranean-quinoa-salad.html

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    • Adding nuts and cheese to quinoa sounds yummy, but really makes it a meal because quinoa has more fat and protein than most rice and pasta. I guess I just need to adjust my thinking. I was thinking of quinoa as side dish when it really would be the main. Recipe sounds interesting.

      There ain’t no figuring you, Baby! You put the U in Unique!!!!!

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  2. niachick said

    Me loves quinoa!!! We fix it like you do — sometimes we mix in dried fruit, etc.; sometimes we mix in veggies. I’ve eaten it cold, too — leftovers. We fix it with dinner, not breakfast.

    Since my husband and I are both eating gluten-free, we use quinoa alot. Thanks as always for your post!

    Jill

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    • I was thinking of it for breakfast because originally I was thinking of it as a side dish but with its high fat and protein I was thinking of adjusting my thinking. 🙂

      I am not one to eat many things cold. I will eat things room temperature, but not COLD if they are usually hot.

      I think this is a great addtion to gluten-free and vegetarian diets.

      Thanks always for your support, Dear! MUAH!

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  3. Michele said

    Thank you for coming to lunch, it is always great to share a meal and good conversation with you! I am glad you enjoyed our lunch 🙂 I too agree that the high fat content makes quinoa a better main dish, with low fat additions like veggies…mmmmmm. Luv U

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  5. suzicate said

    I have never tried quinoa, nor have I ever even seen it at the grocery store.

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    • It could be that in some areas quinoa might be considered a specialty food and you might be able to only get it at specialty markets. It might even be sold in a “health food” store because it is considered a very healthy food. I don’t know, I am just thinking that your area is a little different than here.

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