Quinoa: Whole Grain, Half Price

Quinoa Is A Miracle Food
A recently-rediscovered ancient grain native to South America, quinoa was once called "the gold of the Incas," who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Full of nutritional richness, quinoa (keen-wah) constitutes as a complete protein, with all nine essential amino acids present, and boasts abundant fiber and other nutrients. It’s even said that quinoa lowers the frequency of migraine headaches. All of this, and quinoa is low in calories and low in cost (A portion of organic quinoa costs $.50!).

Here’s how to take advantage of this staple food:

Choosing Quinoa

Look for quinoa in your local health food store. I get mine in bulk, but it is also available individually packaged. Quinoa comes in many colors. Most common is white, but be sure to check out red quinoa, as I find it nuttier in flavor. Quinoa is also sold as flour. While it is a gluten-free product, it is so high in protein that the recommendation is that it be mixed with flour in order to avoid a gummy, heavy result.

Click through our slide show for tips on cooking quinoa and delicious quinoa recipes!

View Slide Show

Tell us in the comments: Have you ever tried (or heard of!) quinoa?

  • Boots1807

    I just discovered (and learned how to say) quinoa this summer, and now I can’t get over it!

    • DG

      I’m hooked too! What’s your favorite recipe?

  • Anonymous

    Deborah, did quinoa start getting increasingly more popular in the past few years? I feel like I’m only lately hearing about it more and more…. Or, perhaps the recession has made my eating habits more budget!nReaders, are you more clued in than I and have known the wonders of quinoa? If so, what do you like to make with it?nCheers,nCarolinenLearnVest’s Chief Content & Community Officer

    • DG

      Caroline, I was introduced to quinoa in 1995. At that time it was difficult to find…and when I made a quinoa dish, my guests were introduced to something new.nnIn the last few years it’s been getting more press- because it is SO healthy for you. I still don’t see it in conventional supermarkets, so it’s not mainstream yet- but this is no “fad”, it’s the real deal. A protein that eats like a grain that is low in calories & fat and high in other great nutrients…and is affordable on any budget. nGet ready to hear lots more about this gem of a grain.

  • Amber

    I started making my breakfast with quinoa about a year ago–nnIf you soak it overnight, in the morning it takes about 30 minutes to open (as opposed to 1 hour) when cooked over the stove with equal parts water. I add a few chocolate chips to sweeten it and lots of strawberries–delicious.

    • Anonymous

      That sounds amazing! I want to try it this weekend!nCheers,nCaroline WaxlernLearnVest’s Chief Content and Community Officer

    • DG

      Amber,rnrnI don’t soak my quinoa- just rinse it and with a ratio of 2 parts water, 1 part quinoa the grain is cooked in about 25 minutes. rnrnI wonder if your soaking method yields a different texture. rnrnStrawberries – fruit- I have not thought of that. I’ll have to check it out! Thanks for the input.rnrncheers!

  • Lucille Shaw

    Amazing quinoa salad–cook it according to directions, toss with canned black beans, cilantro, and sliced green onions, and drizzle with Asian dressing (mine contains soy sauce, honey, sea salt, a minced clove of garlic, etc.)

    • DG

      That sounds fabulous, Lucille! Mex-Asian!

    • DG

      That sounds fabulous, Lucille! Mex-Asian!

  • Carolyn M

    Hi Deborah,rnrnI have been eatting quinoa for at least a couple of years now. My favorite is having it for breakfast. On Sunday night I make a cup and it lasts throughout my work week. Before work each morning, I put a bit in a container then add cinnamon, flaxseed meal, walnuts then anything else I have in the house such as cut up fresh prunes, diced apples or cranberries. I have a lot of fun with it!! I take it to work and just before I heat it up I add a splash of water so everything blends well. It’s filling and always hits the spot especially when it’s cooler out.

  • Guest

    One advantage I find is that you don’t lose much by refrigerating and then reheating it. Rice, on the other hand, is always dry and crusty the next day. I like to make large quantities of quinoa and then eat small amounts reheated and stirred into food or cold and sprinkled on lettuce salad.

  • Anonymous

    Love quinoa! I use the regular white quinoa in stuffed peppers instead of rice. nnMy other recipe is to bake the royal (red) into a stuffing with whatever I would make couscous with — canned pumpkin, chicken stock, slivered almonds, dates, mushrooms — whatever I’ve got little leftover bits of.

  • I love quinoa and use it in many of my meals and snacks…I often eat it for breakfast in lieu of oatmeal with fresh fruits, nuts and unsweetened coconut flakes.nThanks for sharing!

  • jen

    hmm definitely interested in trying this. I have problems when eating other grain and fruits, so I hope this one may work with my body, so I can introduce more carbs and nutrients in my diet.