First, welcome! If this is your first time here, I'm happy to have you. If you're a long-time reader and just checking back on the basics, I'm thrilled to see you again!
I’m Alyssa the creator and food-lover behind Simply Quinoa. If you’re new to the world of quinoa and gluten-free eating then you’re in the right place – this page will introduce you to my all-time favorite superfood and show you a few simple steps you can take right now to start integrating this miracle seed into your diet. Ready to get started?
What is Quinoa?
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is the superfood that has completely revolutionized the way I, and many members of this community, eat. By integrating this nutritional powerhouse into our diets, it has helped us to navigate the gluten-free and whole-food lifestyles with ease. And personally, I’ve even lost a few pounds in the process! But enough about why I love it….let’s get to the facts.
Quinoa hails from South America (the Peruvian Andes to be specific), and has been touted by health experts for it’s miracle nutritional properties. With the rising demand of quinoa, it has quickly become a booming industry in countries like Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador. While many people believe quinoa is a grain, it is actually a seed and related to beets and spinach. Quinoa is grown primarily in Bolivia, Peru and Ecuador, but is also being tested in the US and Canada.
Over the past few decades, quinoa has broken onto the health scene with a splash.
Why is quinoa so good for us?
I’m sure part of the reason why you’re curious is about quinoa, is that health experts around the world tout quinoa as a superfood. While there may be different school of thought on what makes something a “superfood”, there are many reasons why quinoa is good for us! Let’s look at the highlights (if you’d like to see a more detailed explanation, check out this post on Quinoa Nutrition Facts).
- Packed with protein.
- Very high in dietary fibers.
- Is naturally gluten-free.
- Is a complex carbohydrate.
- It’s full of vitamins & minerals.
How cook quinoa:
Cooking quinoa is much easier than you may think. We’ve already talked about how it’s a great substitute for rice, but guess what? It cooks in less than half the time (and bonus, it’s way more nutritious). I have a few methods for cooking quinoa, but my personal preference is #1, the old school method.
Cooking quinoa on the stove
Like rice, quinoa is very easy to cook on the stove. Simply bring two cups of water and one cup of quinoa to a boil, cover and reduce to simmer for 8 – 12 minutes. The quinoa is done cooking when the water has been absorbed and the germ has separated from the seed.
Cooking quinoa in a rice cooker
When cooking quinoa in a rice cooker, you treat it exactly as you would white rice. Add two cups of water of water and one cup of quinoa to your cooker and turn it on. The rice cooker should automatically turn off or switch to the “warming” setting when the water has been absorbed and the quinoa is ready.
What Can Quinoa Do For You
I’m confident in saying that quinoa is an ingredient that everyone can love. Whether you’re an avid rice fan, someone who suffers from Celiac disease, a vegetarian who is trying to get more protein into their diet, or even someone who simply wants to eat healthier, quinoa can find a place in your diet and home.
- Goes well with anything you have on hand. One of my absolute favorite things about quinoa is it’s versatility. You’ll notice that’s a common theme in many of my posts, and still, after three years of eating it almost every day, I’m surprised how effortlessly it melds with other flavors.
- You won’t feel like you’re eating a “health food”. This may seem a little pointless to call out, but for many of us who are just starting out on our real food journey and are accustomed to eating the processed food found in grocery stores, the switch to healthy ingredients can be shocking to our system (and our tastebuds). Luckily, quinoa on its own is quite mild, and as I said above goes well with pretty much everything.
- Saves you time and money. Cooking rice can take upwards of 40 minutes. And unless you’re really good at meal planning and thinking ahead, who has that kind of time? Quinoa cooks in 12 – 15 minutes, and is the perfect healthy, fast food option. Let’s take the office lunch for example; you don’t need to run down the street and grab a salad and half a sandwich, simply toss some veggies together with a little quinoa and you’ve got a nutrient packed meal that is cheaper, healthier and tastes better.
- Can help you lose weight. If you’re like me, then you’re not a fan of counting calories or dieting when you need to shed a few pounds. And I can say from personal experience that quinoa can help you lose weight without doing either (I lost 10 lbs!). Simply replace the rice or pasta in your meal with 1 cup of cooked quinoa, and you’ll not only be cutting calories, but you’ll also being adding extra nutrients and protein to your meal.
Recipes To Get You Started
By now I’m sure that you’re ready to get cooking! To help get you started, I wanted to get you on the right track with a few of the fan favorite recipes from the website.
5-Ingredient Quinoa Mac and Cheese
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See you on the inside!