Celiac.com 05/29/2009 - Quinoa is making a comeback as a "wonder grain." Before going gluten free, most people have never heard of quinoa. But, once you embrace the gluten-free lifestyle, you should learn more about this amazing grain.

Quinoa is an ancient grain that has been grown in South America for thousands of years and was called the "gold of the Incas." The grain resembles millet and has a bitter protective saponin coating that protects the grain from being eaten by birds and insects.

Today, many companies that sell quinoa in the United States remove the bitter saponins. This allows you to prepare the quinoa without having to rinse it first.

Red Quinoa - A Gluten-Free GrainQuinoa is gluten-free, high in fiber and a complete protein, meaning it has all nine amino acids. Quinoa also contains high amounts of lysine, manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. Due to quinoa being a complete protein, it is an excellent food choice for the gluten-free vegan.

To prepare the quinoa for cooking, either purchase pre-rinsed quinoa or rinse the quinoa in a strainer until the saponins are removed. To cook the quinoa, add one part of the grain to two parts liquid in a saucepan. After the mixture is brought to a boil, reduce the heat to simmer and cover. One cup of quinoa cooked in this method usually takes 15 minutes to prepare. When cooking is complete, you will notice that the grains have become translucent, and the white germ has partially detached itself, appearing like a white-spiraled tail.

Serve quinoa as a replacement for rice or couscous. Quinoa is delicious served cold or warm and can be frozen and reheated. It is recommended to prepare the entire box of quinoa and freeze the unused portions for later use.

Tuscan Quinoa Salad Recipe

Ingredients
2 cups cooked quinoa
¼ cup scallions, chopped
2 cloves garlic,minced
1 box cherry tomatoes, sliced in half
½ cup pine nuts, toasted
½ cup fresh parsley, chopped
½ cup fresh basil, chopped
3 T olive oil
juice from half of a lemon
kosher salt and pepper to taste

To Prepare
Prepare quinoa according to recipe on package. Add remaining ingredients to quinoa. Season with salt and pepper to your liking. You may replace oil and lemon juice with Italian dressing. 


Sources for info on quinoa:
Quinoa Corporation
Eden Organics
Homegrown Harvest

As always, Celiac.com welcomes your comments (see below).