Not Just Another Grain.

In Fact, It’s Not Even a Grain at All.

Quinoa,“the gold of the Incas”, is starting to make an appearance in our homes and local restaurants. What’s so great about it you may ask? Everything. Quinoa is something called a pseudocereal, so it’s not actually a real grain at all! It is more closely related to spinach or beets, and it’s leaves, which are hard to find, are eaten like any other green leafy veggie. We are most familiar with the quinoa seed. It comes in white or red and when cooked becomes fluffy and grain like, similar to couscous. Quinoa is a complete protein, meaning that it offers the correct proportions of all nine essential amino acids. They are deemed essential since they are not synthesized by our body, and are required in our diets. Not only a great solution for vegans, it is gluten free, offering an excellent grain alternative for celiac sufferers and the gluten intolerant or sensitive. It has been used to make pastas, crackers, breakfast cereals and more. After hearing about some of the other benefits you may want to think twice about your spaghetti.

Lower Cholesterol
Quinoa is high in the amino acid lysine, one of the building blocks of protein. Lysine is key for the production of the nutrient carnitine, which converts fatty acids into energy and lowers your cholesterol.

Strong Bones & Muscles
Essential amino acids are responsible for cellular and tissue repair. When weight lifting, we make tiny microfiber tears in our muscles, that when allowed to heal, grow back together stronger and larger. As mentioned above, quinoa is particularly high in lysine, an amino acid that aids in calcium absorption to protect against osteoporosis and loss of bone mass. Not only does quinoa aid in preserving our bones, it also contributes to bone formation by activating the necessary enzymes. Manganese, a mineral found in high concentrations in quinoa, is responsible for this function.

Protect Against Cancer & Slow Down Aging
By interacting with our cells, free radicals can affect our skin and DNA. The number one defense against free radicals are antioxidants. Manganese also serves as a powerful antioxidant that protects our cells from these free radicals, which in turn fights off disease and aging.

Nutritional Information

We love to use it in a stir fry, as a side dish or even throw it into a salad. Quinoa is easily prepared and you can make a large batch to last you for the week. I suggest cooking 1-2 cups and storing it in the fridge.

1:2 ratio of quinoa to liquid. Place quinoa and liquid in a pot and bring to a boil. Reduce to a simmer and let sit for 35-40 min. I tend to like my quinoa a bit moist, especially if I’m making it for the week, so I remove it from the heat sooner. This prevents it from drying out too much in the fridge over the course of the week.

Instead of water try using coconut milk or vegetable broth. Experiment with different liquids and let us know your favorites! Depending on your choice of liquid, try using the quinoa in place of oatmeal. One of our favorite recipes can be served hot or cold:

Pomegranate Protein Quinoa
1 c. quinoa
1 c. cooked lentils
3 tb. olive oil
2 tb. lemon juice
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. pomegranate seeds
3/4 c. slivered almonds
2 tb. chives
2 tb. mint
1 tsp. minced garlic

Once your quinoa and lentils are cooked, toss in all the other ingredients and you’re ready to go!
(recipe care of Cru Silverlake)