The benefits of quinoa

Quinoa: its name is today well known. In recent years, it has made its way on the shelves of almost every supermarket alongside rice and legumins. But do you really know the quinoa and the benefits it provides?

Where does quinoa come from?

First of all, do you know how to say this word properly? It is pronounced “qui-nwa.” Now you’re sure to impress (or not) your friends with your linguistic knowledge.

The plant comes from South America, where it a primary food source for the peoples living in the Andes. Quinoa is not a cereal—it is the grain of a plant from the same family as beets and spinach. It is therefore known as a pseudo-cereal.

A protein-rich grain

The nutritional value of quinoa is similar to that of cereal. It is therefore an excellent source of carbohydrates. Its protein content, however, is higher. This does not mean that it can serve as a replacement for meat, fish or tofu, which are full proteins, but it is a good side dish. The amino acids in quinoa perfectly complement those found in vegetable proteins such as legumes.

Because the grain is eaten as a whole, quinoa is a good source of fibre—a nutrient that is often lacking in North American diets. It is also an excellent source of magnesium, iron and potassium.

Integrating quinoa into your diet

Thanks to its growing popularity, quinoa can now be found in most supermarkets, in the same section as rice and legumes.

Making it is so easy. First, rinse the quinoa under running water. Soapy bubbles may appear. The grains are covered in saponin, a resinous, bitter substance. Before being sold, most of the saponin is removed from the grain, but there may be some residue. When you rinse the quinoa, you rid it of the remaining saponin.

Cooking quinoa is simple, the instructions identical to those of rice. In a saucepan, combine two parts liquid (i.e. water, broth or milk) for one part grains. The quinoa will be ready in 15 minutes, when the grains have opened. It won’t stick together.

Quinoa can replace any other grain or cereal in recipes and is excellent at any time of the day, even in the morning, replacing oatmeal.

Quinoa porridge

Makes 4 servings

  • 1 cup (250 ml) dry quinoa
  • 2 cups (500 ml) cow’s milk (or soy, almond, as you wish)
  • Your choice of topping: almonds, walnuts, bananas, apples, pears, maple syrup, etc.
  • Rinse the quinoa under running water until its stops foaming.
  • Combine the quinoa and milk in a saucepan. Bring to a boil and cook for 15 minutes or until the quinoa is cooked.

Note that the texture will not be the same as oatmeal, but the taste is just as delicious. One benefit is that you can prepare this “porridge” the night before and quickly warm it up the next morning. Ideal to fill up on before training, too!