Updated: Jan 17
I didn't always eat quinoa. I was like most people, sticking to a routine that included rice, pasta and potatoes. Then I went plant based and a whole new world of food opened up to me. When I look back on the days that I ate meat at most meals, it looks so boring. I never want to go back to eating that way. When I starte
d adding different grains into my routine, quinoa was one I wanted to try. But I had a really hard time making it taste good without slathering it with vegan butter!
Key points in this article:
Is quinoa good for you?
Benefits of eating quinoa
How to cook quinoa
Recipes to try
IS QUINOA GOOD FOR YOU
Quinoa is part of my regular routine. Does quinoa have protein? Yes it does! Quinoa is not only high in protein but it is also a complete protein. A complete protein is a food that contains all 9 essential amino acids. Amino acids are the building blocks of protein. Foods like meat contain all 9 amino acids. When I went plant based, I was under the impression that getting enough protein was going to be hard.
What I didn't realize is that I had fallen into the protein trap. The protein trap is believing that I need to get a large amount of protein everyday to be healthy. Some adults eat almost 100 grams of protein a day! That is really way too much protein for any adult. Why? Protein is needed for growth. Adults are done growing. That means we don't need a lot of protein every day. Instead, we should be eating 30 grams a day. That is easily achieved when eating plant based foods.
BENEFITS OF EATING QUINOA
Not only is quinoa a great source of protein, it has a lot of other health benefits. Below are a few.
High in Fiber. Fiber lowers cholesterol and glucose levels, may lower your risk of developing hemorrhoids, and may help you to lose weight. Fiber makes you feel fuller longer and is less “energy dense,” which means it has fewer calories for the same volume of food.
Rich in Magnesium. Did you know that most people are deficient in magnesium? Up to 75% of us are not getting enough magnesium in our diet. (Source: Healthline) Magnesium is necessary for normal blood pressure and strong muscles. Also, magnesium is needed for vitamin D to be metabolized properly.
Gluten Free. Quinoa is a great option for eating gluten free. Gluten is a protein found in grains that is very hard to digest. Some people know they are allergic to gluten but most do not. Gluten is like glue and does not have any nutrients. It can cause you to be bloated, gassy, have diarrhea, headaches and can make you feel tired. One way to resolve these symptoms is to go gluten-free. But that may not be the root cause of your symptoms.
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HOW TO COOK QUINOA
One of the steps that is a must for making quinoa to taste good is to rinse it. If you have the time, soaking is even better. Why? Quinoa is covered in saponin. Saponin is a bitter, soapy substance that protects the quinoa plant from fungal and insect attacks. It also contains toxins that can cause irritation and other issues in some people. While the level of toxicity is low, some people may be sensitive to this compound. (Source: Healthline) After soaking for 30 minutes, make sure to rinse a couple of times to remove the saponin.
If you can cook rice, you can cook quinoa! One way to cook it is in a pot. How to cook quinoa in a pot:
For 1 cup of uncooked quinoa, you'll need 2 cups of water. This will result in 3 cups of cooked quinoa.
Bring the quinoa and water to a boil, cover and lower the heat to medium to low.
Let the quinoa absorb the water. It should take about 15 minutes.
Quinoa will be fluffy and there will not be any water left at the bottom of the pot. If there is still some water, continue to let it cook uncovered for a few more minutes.
How long can quinoa last in the fridge? Once the quinoa is cooked, it will last 7 days in the refrigerator. Can you freeze cooked quinoa? Yes! In fact it can last 8-10 months so don't worry if it falls to back and you forget about it. Once you find it in the freezer, it will still be good!
RECIPES TO TRY
Quinoa can be used in a variety of ways. From bowls, to soup, to salad, to patties and even cookies, quinoa is a great addition to most recipes. Here are some recipes to try.
Quinoa Bowl Ideas
One of the simplest ways to use quinoa is part of a mash-up of other ingredients served in a bowl. Below are a few ideas.
Quinoa in soup is another easy option to eat quinoa in a flavorful way. Here are a few recipes:
I bet you never thought about quinoa patties. They make a great side dish or main dish, depending on how you eat!
More Quinoa Recipes
Quinoa is a nutrient dense, complete protein grain that both plant based eaters and those who eat animal products can enjoy. It is a healthy replacement for other grains, such as rice, barley and farro. Cooking quinoa is easy. If you can cook rice, you can cook quinoa! Quinoa lasts 7 days in the refrigerator and 8-10 months in the freezer, making it a great meal-prep ingredient. Using quinoa in recipes can expand your use of this healthy grain.
Do you eat quinoa? Let me know why or why not in the comments below.