We’ve got our first two-part series! Get excited because we’ve got great recipes and information coming your way. About a month ago I submitted a post about the benefits of eating quinoa and you all seemed to really like the information I had found. Seeing these results got me thinking about quinoa and whether or not it is the same as couscous. A better question is which grain is healthier: quinoa or couscous? These are the questions that will be answered after the end of this mini-series. We’ll be discussing the benefits of quinoa and then tackle the question of which grain is healthier. So please join me as we begin to research about these tiny grainy babies!
Quinoa, How Great are Thee?
I’ve found a bit of information about quinoa from rd.com, mnn.com, and vegetarian.about.com. Quinoa has been described as the holy grain of grains. Technically it isn’t a grain– it is actually a seed originating from ancient Peru.
Many encourage you to rinse quinoa prior to cooking it, but pre-packaged quinoa is usually pre-soaked anyways. Quinoa can be served as a side dish with butter, olive oil, or any other seasonings you prefer. People also enjoy eating quinoa for breakfast with dried fruit, cinnamon, milk, or honey. Overall quinoa is a great substitute for rice so there are many ways to eat quinoa.
Fun fact: according to the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nation, this year is the International Year of Quinoa. Which means….eat more quinoa! The biggest benefit of quinoa is that it is rich in nutrients and includes nine of the essential amino acids. Quinoa is great for vegans and vegetarians because it is a great source of protein that is low in fat and cholesterol free, and it can be hard for vegetarians and vegans to have enough amino acids and protein in their diet.
In one cup of quinoa there are 3.4 grams of fat, 8.14 grams of protein and 222 calories. Quinoa is a good source of iron, fiber, magnesium, and has anti-inflammatory nutrients like phenolic acids. Plus, it’s gluten-free!
Preparing quinoa is easy and super quick:
- Combine 1 cup rinsed quinoa with two cups water (or broth) in a medium saucepan
- Bring to a boil over high heat
- Reduce heat to low, cover and simmer until tender and most of the liquid has been absorbed for 15-20 minutes
- Fluff with a fork before serving and enjoy!
Yummy Recipe, because you want it!
Eatingwell.com has a sweet quinoa recipe using quinoa flour. This is great for our gluten-free lovers and those with celiac disease because it’s a yummy gluten-free treat! Here’s the recipe for Almond Butter-Quinoa Blondies!
- 1/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 3/4 cup smooth or crunchy natural almond butter
- 2 large eggs
- 3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 3/4 cup quinoa flour (see Tip)
- 1 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
- Preheat oven to 350°F. Coat an 8-inch-square baking pan with cooking spray and line the bottom with parchment paper.
- Beat butter and almond butter in a mixing bowl with an electric mixer until creamy. Beat in eggs, brown sugar and vanilla. Whisk quinoa flour, baking powder and salt in a small bowl. Mix the flour mixture into the wet ingredients until just combined. Stir in chocolate chips. Spread the batter evenly into the prepared pan.
- Bake until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out with just a few moist crumbs on it, about 25 minutes. Let cool in the pan for 45 minutes before cutting into 24 pieces. Let cool completely before storing.
Tip: Store airtight in the refrigerator for up to 5 days. Look for quinoa flour in the baking section or near gluten-free flours in natural foods stores. Or, to make your own, grind whole grains of quinoa into a powder in a clean coffee grinder.
I hope this post gave you more information about quinoa! I’m really glad I split this series in two parts because you probably wouldn’t read everything. But anyways, please come back next week for part 2 where we will find out if quinoa or couscous is healthier. Please give the quinoa recipe a try and let us know what you think. Remember to comment, like, and subscribe to Start The Cycle! Have an awesome day!!!