What in the world is Quinoa?!

9910-quinoa-tabbouleh-lI get this question at least once a week.  It’s a major staple in my diet, especially as a Vegetarian.  So here’s a little background on the protein source that packs a punch!

Quinoa is a seed that comes from the Andes Mountains of South America. Quinoa’s origins are truly ancient. It was one of  the three staple foods along with corn and potatoes, of the Inca civilization. Quinoa was known then, and still is known,with respect, as the mother grain. We call it the “Supergrain of theFuture.”

-Quinoa contains more protein than any other grain; an average of 16.2  percent, compared with 7.5 percent for rice, 9.9 percent for millet, and 14 percent for wheat. Some varieties of quinoa are more than 20 percent protein.

-Quinoa’s protein is of an unusually high quality. It is a complete protein, with an essential amino acid balance close to the ideal … similar to milk!

-Quinoa’s protein is high in lysine, methionine and cystine. This makes it an excellent food to combine with and boost the protein value of other grains (which are low in lysine), or soy (which is low in methionine and cystine).

(adopted from Quinoa Corporation)

Here is the nutritional value for just 1 Cup highlighted:

8.1g Protein/5.2g dietary fiber/13mg sodium

Follow a 2:1 ratio of liquid to grain.  I boil mine with low sodium vegetable broth and then use it in salads or in combination of a meal.