15 May 2006

Cereal of the week - Quinoa

Quinoa (keen-wah) has been cultivate for 5,000 years and came from South America. Although classified as a grain it is actually the fruit of the Goosefoot plant. It is a small, round grain and is used in everything from breakfast cereal, soups, stews, salads and breads. Also excellent for animal feed.

Quinoa is a balanced amino acid source of high quality, complete protein with a low glycemic index. It contains calcium, iron, vitamin C, vitamin B and fiber. Containing 8 amino acids including lysine, cystine and methionine makes it extremely useful food source. Quinoa also contains albumin and is gluten-free. Therefore it is excellent for vegetarian, vegan, diabetic and gluten-free diets.

Quinoa cooks in 10 to 15 minutes. Use 3 cups of water to 1 cup of quinoa unless recipe suggests otherwise. It can also be purchased as a flour.

Quinoa Pancakes
Marie Donadio, PCC Cooks instructor

2 cups quinoa flour
2 tablespoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 cup light-flavored oil, such as sunflower
1/2 cup raw cashews
2 cups warm water
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice or
1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid crystals dissolved in 2 tablespoon warm water
1 teaspoon maple syrup

In a mixing bowl, whisk together quinoa flour, baking powder, and baking soda. In blender, grind nuts to a fine powder, pausing to scrape under the blades 2 to 3 times. Add to blender: water, vanilla extract, lemon juice, and maple syrup and blend 3 to 4 minutes. Pour liquids over dry ingredients and whisk a few times, eliminating lumps. If batter is too thick, add water as necessary. Pour a scant 1/4 cup of batter onto hot non-stick griddle (heated until water dances on it) for each pancake. Serve with fruit sauce or applesauce.

Variations: Add 1 to 2 tablespoons flaxseed into the blender with the cashews. For a heavier buckwheat sourdough pancake, replace up to 1 cup of quinoa flour with buckwheat flour and use 2 tablespoons baking powder.

Whole Grain Council

1/2 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup quinoa
juice of one small lemon
2 TBS olive oil
2 TBS cilantro or parsley, chopped
2 stalks green onions (scallions) chopped
1 tsp minced garlic
1 tsp cumin
1 can (15 oz.) black beans, drained and rinsed
1 tomato, seeded and diced
1 cup fresh or frozen corn (about 3 ears if fresh)

Cook quinoa in broth about 15 minutes, until liquid is absorbed. In a large bowl, make the dressing by mixing lemon juice, olive oil, parsley or cilantro, scallions, garlic and cumin. Add drained and rinsed beans, chopped tomatoes and corn to the bowl. No need to cook the corn, just cut it right off the cobs. When quinoa is fully cooked and has cooled a bit, add it to the salad and mix everything thoroughly. Best refrigerated for at least one hour to let flavors mingle, but you can eat it immediately if you're hungry! Serves 4

• Use bulgur or another grain instead of quinoa.
• Use a lime instead of a lemon.
• Try other varieties of beans.

This salad is best in summer when you can use fresh corn and lovely ripe tomatoes.


Tabooli, a mid-eastern salad, try it with quinoa for a delightful new taste.
2 cups quinoa, cooked 1/2 tsp basil
1 cup chopped parsley 1/2 cup lemon juice
1/2 cup chopped scallions 1/4 cup olive oil
2 Tbl fresh mint or 1 Tbl dried mint salt and pepper to taste
1 garlic clove, pressed lettuce leaves, whole
1/4 cup olives, sliced

Place all ingredients except lettuce and olives in a mixing bowl and toss together lightly. Chill for 1 hour or more to allow flavors to blend. Wash and dry lettuce leaves and use them to line a salad bowl. Add tabooli and garnish with olives. Serves 4


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