PeachDish – Ingredient Spotlight: Quinoa
March 07, 2016 by Mary Alice Shreve, RD, LD

Ingredient Spotlight: Quinoa

Perhaps one of the most commonly mispronounced foods, quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah") is a superfood laden with health benefits. Commonly mistaken as a grain, quinoa is actually a "pseudocereal" and is the seed of a grain crop. Quinoa is orginally from the Andean region of South America and was a staple crop of the Incas. Today- 3,000 years later- our Quinoa & White Bean Porridge with Fennel & Preserved Tomato features this ingredient in a less traditional sense.


Quinoa can be prepared much like a grain, but it does not have the same nutritional benefits of grains. It is well-stashed in the protein department averaging 8 grams protein per cup. Quinoa contains all essential amino acids meaning it is a source of complete protein. This seed also houses high amounts of oleic acid (a monounsaturated fatty acid) and omega-3 fatty acids per serving. These are both heart-healthy fats that may decrease inflammation. Quinoa also provides notable levels of folate and zinc, and it is the perfect way to incorporate more fiber into one's diet.


Once prepared, quinoa is light and fluffy in texture. This makes it a great base for salads or a hearty addition to soups and stews as in our Quinoa, Red Potato, Swiss Chard and Pepper Chowder with Chevre and Scallions. The best way to know that your quinoa is fully cooked and ready is to wait until it is translucent with a "squiggly" line appearing down each seed.

Try quinoa in our Quinoa Bowl with Mushroom, Bok Choy & Soft-Boiled Egg for a filling vegetarian dish. Prefer more animal protein? Quinoa complements meat, too! Give our Pork & Black Cherry Sausage & Quinoa with Escarole a shot or prepare our delicious Flat Iron Steak with a Rustic Chimichurri.


Quinoa Nutrition Vegetarian super food Vegan