Healthy Grain – Quinoa

Have you tried this grain called Quinoa? As a vegetarian, I am always in lookout for various options for protein. It has good benefits with respect to high protein content (14%) and good source of fiber, phosphorus, magnesium and Iron. The grain has slightly bitter taste, but when eaten with good curry, the bitterness is negligible.

Quinoa

If you are not familiar with this grain, I would highly recommend you read this on wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Quinoa

I use this as a substitute for rice. For few years, we used brown rice. The fiber content is higher on brown rice compared to white rice. It took us a while to develop the taste around Quinoa. I try various ways to incorporate this grain into our daily meal plans. It goes well with sambar or any curry on the side. I also use Quinoa in my soups to give more density to my soups. It becomes a full meal in itself. My kids can’t make out I have Quinoa in the soup, which works well.

I have seen people come up with creative recipes using Quinoa. You can substitute for rice, oats, potato or for adding additional density to your dish. This is one wholesome grain that we should check it out 🙂

For now let me share my soup recipe –

Quinoa – 1 cup
Mixed lentils -1 cup soaked overnight
Garlic – 4
Onion – 1/2 chopped
Red chille flakes – 1/2 tsp
Veggie broth – 4-5 cups
Canned tomatoes – 1
Zucchini – 1 small chopped into cubes
carrots – 1 medium chopped into cubes
Olive oil
Salt
Pepper

Wash your Quinoa using a strainer.

In a pressure cooker, add 1 tbsp olive oil and add garlic chopped, red chillie flakes, add onions and saute till it turns transparent. Add your veggies, canned tomatoes, lentils, Quinoa, broth, salt and pepper and cover and cook in the cooker till 3-4 whistles. Check for taste for more salt and pepper. You can also add a spoonful of lime juice for additional flavor. This has been a favorite soup for the family..well I make it one as it has huge benefits of protein and a small carb ratio 😉

I have substituted Quinoa with pasta shells at times and that also turns out really good. You may want to add more broth if you like your soup more liquid.

If you are looking to cook Quinoa to substitite for rice, just wash the Quinoa and use 1:2 water and cook it covered till it boils. Cover partially and keep mixing till water disappears.

Here are some good recipe links to try:

Quinoa Salad
Quinoa Upma
Quinoa Pancakes
Quinoa Vegetable Pilaf
Quinoa Patties
Black bean Quinoa burgers

If you are aware of more, feel free to share it with me..would always love to try something with this grain.

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