Wednesday, June 22, 2011
Keen on Quinoa
If someone had asked me to describe "quinoa" before I had become a Nutrition major, I would have stared at him blankly. These days, however, I shamelessly confess to the thrill of learning about new, unusual foods. Textured soy protein? I'll tell you all about it. Mochi? I could write a book. Injera? Pull up a chair.
For those of you, like myself, who had no idea what quinoa was until recently or now (and for those of you who did, you can just grin and skip below), here is the low-down.
Quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") is a "pseudocereal" with edible seeds that is grown in the Andes mountains region of South America. The seeds contain every essential amino acid
(amino acids that must be obtained through diet) making it a complete protein. Quinoa is also high in iron, magnesium and phosphorous and is a good source of fiber.
Basically, this stuff rocks.
Quinoa can be treated similarly to rice in cooking. I like to mix mine
with sauteed veggies, but you could also do a quinoa pilaf, serve it for breakfast with berries, or even use quinoa flour (gluten-free) in baked goods.
Quinoa Fun Fact: Brainiacs are considering quinoa as a food for the Controlled Ecological Life Support System in space! Looks like quinoa stir-fry is on the menu at that space station resort we will visit one day.
Pumpkin Pesto Quinoa
I pulled together some odds and ends and made this for lunch the other day. It turned out surprisingly awesome-- good enough that I want to share it :)
1/4 cup dry quinoa
1/4 cup walnut halves, toasted
1/2 cup canned pumpkin
1/4 cup Bella Cucina Sweet Pumpkin Pesto
dash of sage
parmesan cheese is optional
Heating the pureed pumpkin and pesto together.
I promise I wasn't making baby food.
Adding the mixture to my cooked quinoa along
with the toasted walnuts and a sprinkling of sage
(you could add parmesan here, too).
All mixed up.
So it's not the prettiest dish in the world...
...but I still enjoyed it.
Any you will, too!
Pumpkin Pesto Quinoa Nutrition:
530 calories, 78 g carbohydrate, 17 g fiber, 23 g fat, 3 g saturated fat, 11 g protein, cholesterol <5mg, 415 mg sodium