Quinoa, pronounced “keen-wah” is the one of the hottest health food trends! Quinoa is a nutritional superstar–it is a complete protein, has twice the fiber of wheat, valuable amounts of oleic acid and omega-3 fatty acids, and is high iron, magnesium, folate, and phosphorus. It is gluten-free, which makes it a great option for those with celiac disease or gluten intolerance. Quinoa is indigenous to the Andes Mountain region in South America and was once known as the “gold of the Incas.” The Incas believe quinoa increased the stamina and strength of their warriors!
Quinoa is used in place of a grain, but it is actually a seed that belongs to the same food family as spinach, Swiss chard, and beets. The easiest way to start incorporating quinoa into your diet is to swap it into dishes that normally call for rice, pasta, barley, or oats.
Be sure to rinse quinoa before using it; the seeds are coated with saponins, a naturally occurring plant chemical with a bitter taste. Their purpose is actually to keep insects from eating the plant! Even if quinoa is rinsed prior to packaging, it is still a good habit to wash your quinoa before you use it.
This Greek Quinoa Power Salad is a great way to break the quinoa ice. The beautiful Mediterranean flavors pair very well with the slightly nutty taste of quinoa. This dish is a great to bring to a picnic, cookout, or gathering. It is hearty, healthy, and filling. Enjoy!