Saturday, February 9, 2013


Two years ago, I would have been challenged to find quinoa in my local supermarket but today not only can it be found among the now large selection of specialty grains, it is also on the impulse item shelf at the checkout counter.  Times have changed.  Perhaps it is because the Food and Agricultural Organization of the United Nations (FAO) officially declared  the year 2013 as "The International Year of the Quinoa”. 

Historically, this native grain of South America has been around since 1200 AD.  Along with maize, quinoa was one of the two mainstay foods for the Inca Empire

I am happy to see folks embrace this powerhouse grain.  Often considered the Mother of Grains, quinoa contains enough of the 20 amino acids to make it a complete protein with one cup of quinoa providing 8g of protein and 5g of dietary fiber. What’s more, the presences of these two macronutrients make quinoa perfect for regulation of blood sugar.     

Often I will recommend quinoa as a substitute for rice or cous cous. Most often people will typically prepare rice by steaming or boiling it, but I suggest giving quinoa a little more love.   Make it  pilaf style and use it  in salads, soups or as a replacement for other starches.  Try preparing quinoa this way and I am sure you’ll think twice before reaching for the rice or potatoes again.


2 teaspoons olive oil
1/3 cup diced carrots
1/3 cup diced celery
½ cup diced onions
2 teaspoons minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon chopped fresh thyme
1 cup quinoa
3 cups chicken/vegetable stock or water
¼ cup sliced scallions (optional)

Heat olive in a medium saucepan

Add carrots, celery, onions, garlic and salt; cover and cook until onions become translucent; add thyme

 then quinoa and liquid

Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer

Cover and allow cooking until all liquid is completely evaporated

Remove from pot and garnish with scallions if desired

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