Monday, April 16, 2012

Monday Meet Whole Foods: White Quinoa!

 Meet: White Quinoa

What is White Quinoa?
White Quinoa is similar in size and origin to red quinoa, although it has a surprisingly different flavor. Quinoa is a small grain that originates from South America and is still used there today. The ancient Incan Indians regarded this grain so highly (they called it the mother grain) that the first seeds of each season were sown by the Incan Emporer using a gold shovel! Quinoa is Gluten Free and considered easy to digest.

How do I use it?
White Quinoa can be sprouted, ground into flour, popped (yes like popcorn!), or cooked. To cook white quinoa just add 2 parts water to 1 part quinoa and cook on the stove top for 20 minutes, the electric pressure cooker for 6 minutes, or the stove top pressure cooker for 7 minutes. After cooking, the grain displays a little white thread that curls around it.

White quinoa expands by four times it's raw size when cooked. Use cooked white quinoa in salads, soups, breads, or as a meat substitute or extender in main entrees. White quinoa makes an excellent breakfast cereal.

A wonderful way to increase the nutrition of white rice is to add some white quinoa with it. The color is similar so it disguises very well. White rice and white quinoa cook in the same amount of time, so it's easy to cook them together. I also like to add cooked white quinoa to mashed potatoes and other potato dishes because it is disguised so well.

Where Can I buy it?
The cheapest store that I've seen lately that sells white quinoa is WinCo. You can also find it in health food stores and even in some grocery stores. It is less expensive than red quinoa and easier to find.

How healthy is it?
White quinoa is amazing in that, unlike many grains, it contains all the essential amino acids, making it a complete protein. This property makes it an excellent grain for vegetarian and vegan diets. It is high in fiber, which is has been shown to reduce the risk of high blood pressure, heart attacks and some types of cancer. It also high in magnesium, folate and phosphorus, which make it a good choice for people with headaches and diabetes. It is high in lysine, which is important for tissue growth and repair. For more information, here is an excellent article about the health benefits of quinoa and here is a chart that lists the nutrition content of quinoa.

Got a Recipe?
Comment with your recipes using white quinoa or check out some of mine this week! I hope you enjoy this wonderful grain!

Recipes With White Quinoa:
Popped Quinoa
White Quinoa Vegetarian Chili

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