M is for Mighty

What are those letters M. S. about?

Q is for Quinoa

on July 12, 2013

Qui-what!?!?  It is commonly pronounced Kee-nwa. According to the ever trusty Wikipedia, it is a “pseudocereal” rather than a true cereal or grain.  Rather than being a member of the grass family, it is a chenopod.  That makes it more closely related to beetroots, spinach and tumbleweeds.  (Sounds Yummy!)

Quinoa seeds contain essential amino acids like lysine and are a good source for calcium, dietary fiber, phosphorus, magnesium, and iron. Many sources claim that Quinoa is a “complete protein” and has an almost perfect balance of amino acids and actually helps boost the protein value of other grains!

Quinoa is gluten-free, easy to digest, versatile, and easy to prepare.  In fact, because of all these characteristics, quinoa is being considered a possible crop in NASA’s Controlled Ecological Life Support System for long-duration human occupied spaceflights.  Didn’t you always want to be like an astronaut?

Another interesting tidbit, the United Nations General Assembly declared 2013 as the “International Year of Quinoa” in recognition of ancestral practices of the Andean people, who have preserved quinoa as food for present and future generations.

To ease my family into the appearance and texture of this unique morsel, I started with white quinoa and substituted it half and half with rice.  The looked at it a little critically, but ate it up.  (Even my texture detector youngest did okay!)  After I became more bold (and even my pickiest eaters determined it would not kill them), I started substituting it completely and have incorporated the red quinoa as well.  One of the first things they noticed (especially my teens) is how quickly they are full… or “stuffed” would probably be more like it.  They are still working out the serving size.  J

A couple of favorites:

Breakfast burritos with egg substitute, quinoa, green chilies, black beans, and taco seasoning.

We also like to make a casserole similar to Hamburger Helper’s taco version and I started substituting quinoa for the rice.  Yummy!

A work in progress is the red quinoa lasagna.  The flavor was great and it was SUPER filling, but it just kind of went plop on the plate and didn’t look very appetizing.  Perhaps some egg substitute and flax meal to glue it together better?  We shall see!

A future attempt will be a recipe I stumbled across for “Quookies.”  I just really like the name!  J


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