Quinoa pronounced “keen-wha” is a really old grain. It is classified as a pseudocereal, which means it is not a cereal or a grain. Quinoa is a chenopod, so it is the same family as beets and spinach. It was a sacred grain for the Inca’s, who called it chissaya mama “mother of all grains”. It has been cultivated for over 6000 years in the Andes. It does not grow like a rice; quinoa has a long growing season, likes well drained soil and easily grows at high altitudes up to 4000 meters. The Spanish conquistadors (really bad guys) who called it “food for Indians” forbade the production and strongly encouraged the farming of corn (maize). Quinoa is also really good for you, it is gluten-free, high in phosphorus, magnesium, iron and it is high in protein. Best of all it cooks in 15 minutes or less.
Ginger hates quinoa but he is away…. so Nutmeg (who loves it) got a great recipe from Hot Chili to try. The recipe is great but even better the next day when the flavors soak in.
- 1 Cup Quinoa
- 2 Cups Water
- 1-2 Whole Ripe Mangoes, peeled and chopped
- 1 Whole Red Pepper, chopped
- ¼ Cup Seedless Cucumber, chopped
- 2-3 Green Onions, chopped
- 2 Cups Spinach leaves, washed
- 1 Can Black Beans, drained
- 1 Handful (optional) Cilantro, chopped
- ¼ Cup Olive or Canola Oil
- 2 Tablespoons White Balsamic or regular vinegar
- 1 Tablespoon Mango Chutney
- 1 Teaspoon Honey
- 1 Teaspoon Curry Powder
- ¼ Teaspoon Cumin, ground
- Rinse quinoa well under cold water, then drain through fine sieve
- Combine the quinoa and the water, bring to a boil and then cover, cook for 15 minutes or less
- Drain and rinse
- Combine ingredients for dressing (starting at the Olive Oil) with a whisk or in jar and shake
- Place quinoa, chopped vegetables, and beans in large bowl, drizzle with dressing and toss until well coated
So quinoa is really old and really good for you – Nutmeg will be eating it until Ginger gets back!