One of nature's healthiest high-protein foods? Check. Easy to prepare, low in calories, and rich in flavor? Check. Free of gluten, dairy, and animal protein that can become harmful when exposed to high temperatures? Check, check, and check. It's quinoa, folks, and if you aren't already enjoying it, you really should consider starting soon - your body will thank you for it. It used to only be available in the odd health food store, but can now be found in most grocery stores throughout the States and Canada, including Costco. If you need to ask for it, it's pronounced "keen-wah."
It's quinoa, folks, and if you aren't already enjoying it, you really should consider starting soon - your body will thank you for it. It used to only be available in the odd health food store, but can now be found in most grocery stores throughout the States and Canada, including Costco. If you need to ask for it, it's pronounced "keen-wah."
Though technically a seed, you prepare quinoa as you would any whole grain - two cups of water for every cup of quinoa, bring to a boil, then cover and simmer until done, usually about 10 to 15 minutes for a cup of quiona that will make about 3 to 4 decent servings.
Quinoa comes naturally coated with saponins, which you don't want to make a habit of ingesting, so be sure to rinse well before cooking. And it's best not to overdo it - about 3 to 4 servings per week is a good amount for most, as is the case with all protein-rich foods, as eating the same protein-rich food every day can eventually create a food intolerance or allergy.
Compared to most grains, including fellow gluten-free foods like brown rice, millet, and buckwheat, quinoa is quite low in natural sugars, making it an excellent choice for those with diabetes and everyone looking to keep their blood sugar and insulin levels in healthy ranges. Which also means that if you're looking to prevent or overcome yeast overgrowth in any form, quinoa is a safe and satiating choice.
Let's have a look at one of our favourite ways to prepare quinoa:
Makes about 4 servings
1 cup quinoa, rinsed well
1 small red onion, minced
1 ripe tomato, chopped
1 tablespoon minced parsley
2 ripe avocados
Extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon lemon juice
Measure out one cup of quinoa, rinse well a few times under cold water, then combine with two cups of cold water, bring to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cook with the lid on until done - this takes about 10 to 15 minutes. You'll know it's done when the water is no longer visible and you see a few holes in the bed of quinoa. Set aside cooked quinoa.
Heat 1 tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil or coconut oil over low to medium heat, add chopped red onion, then cook for 5 minutes to soften. Transfer cooked onion to quinoa in a large bowl.
Add chopped tomato, minced parsley, and sea salt, to taste.
Halve the avocados lengthwise and remove pits. Cube avocado by running your knife through the flesh, first vertically, then horizontally, all while the flesh remains in the avocado shell. Once cubed, use a large spoon to carefully remove each half of cubed avocado chunks, leaving clean and empty avocado half shells. Add the avocado chunks to the bowl of quinoa, then drizzle with fresh lemon juice to add tang and preserve colour. Give everything a gentle toss to evenly distribute avocado chunks.
Spoon quinoa and avocado stuffing into empty avocado shells and serve immediately.
You will likely have some of the quinoa stuffing left over - if you serve this up in regular old bowls, I don't think you'll be hearing any complaints. :) Chew well and enjoy with loved ones.
Dr. Ben Kim is a chiropractor and acupuncturist living and working in Barrie, Ontario, Canada. Visit his website at www.drbenkim.com