Quinoa

3802 Being Asian from Hawai'i, I grew up eating sticky white rice with almost every meal. A few years ago I gave it up (except for the occasional sushi indulgence) in favor of brown rice which is less starchy and has better nutritional value. Then, when I started eating caveman style, I stopped eating brown rice in favor of sweet potatoes.

But tonight, I decided to conduct a little experiment and make quinoa (pronounced "keenwah"). I'd never made it before, let alone eaten it either, but I've read so many articles on the benefits of quinoa, I decided to try it.

Uncooked Quinoa looks and feels grainy. photo5

Initially I thought it was a grain (like rice) but in fact, its not. Quinoa are actually seeds that belong to the beets and spinach family. It originated from South America and is known is one of the most complete foods because it contains fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, amino acids and enzymes. Its also an excellent source of protein, calcium and magnesium. All effective in fighting diseases like diabetes, cancer and high blood pressure.

Quinoa is also gluten-free for those who battle Celiac's disease, so its a perfect substitute for rice; you hardly feel like you're missing out on anything!

Tonight for Sunday dinner, I baked some salmon (also a well-known super food) to go along with the quinoa. Having never made it before, I followed the directions to a "T." There were two recipes on the bag; one plain and another flavored. I decided to go for the moreflavor-able recipe to increase the chances of liking it.

The recipe called for:

1 c quinoa 1 c cauliflower florets (I didn't have this so I left it out) 2 c water Soy sauce to taste (1/2 capful) 1/2 c pinenuts 2-3 green onions, thinly sliced 3 T chopped fresh herbs like basil, mint, parsley or cilantro (I used cilantro) 2 T apple cider vinegar 1 T EVOO Salt and pepper to taste

1. Rinse the quinoa 2. In a saute pan, combine the quinoa, cauliflower and water. 3. Cover and bring to a boil 4. Season with soy sauce, cover and reduce heat to low 5. Simmer until all liquid has been absorbed, quinoa opened up (this fascinated me) -- about 15 min 6. Fold in pine nuts, green onions, herbs, vinegar, and EVOO 7. Season to taste and serve immediately

To be honest, as soon as it was done, it did not look appetizing. In fact, I told my friend, "I'm not eating this." It looked mushy and I don't like mushy foods.

Well I ended up eating it and found that it wasn't too bad. The texture is similar to rice and the flavor from the vinegar and pine nuts was dominant. I even had a little bit of seconds. With the salmon and a green salad with raspberries, it was actually quite tasty and dinner turned out to be an all-around very healthy meal!

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