10 facts about quinoa

Discover 10 facts and/or tidbits about quinoa.

1. Pseudo cereal

Quinoa is not a grass like wheat or barley. It belongs to the same family as spinach and chard. The leaves of this large annual plant are eaten the same way, and its seeds grow in clusters, like currants.

2. GF (Gluten-Free)

Quinoa is a good choice for people with celiac disease who cannot eat gluten.

3. Bye Bye Bitter

Some types of quinoa have not been stripped of their protective coating, called saponins, which gives them a bitter taste. To avoid this, rinse in water and rub with your fingers before cooking.

4. Old-Timer or Newbie

This little grain, grown for thousands of years in the Andes Mountains of South America, is gaining more and more followers. Take a look: you can now find it in most grocery stores alongside rice or in the organic section.

5. Pretty Colours

White quinoa has a lighter, fluffier texture than the heavier grains of red and black quinoa. Mix them up for a nice visual effect.

6. Sensational in Salad

Soft and slightly crunchy at the same time, cooked quinoa is ideal in salads. Make an amazing taboulleh by adding some diced tomato and cucumbers, lemon juice, a bit of garlic, dash of olive oil, fresh mint and parsley!

7. Ready in a Flash

Cook it like rice: 500 ml (2 cups) of lightly salted boiling water per 250 ml (1 cup) of quinoa. Reduce heat, cook and cook for 15 to 20 minutes. Remove from heat and let stand for 5 minutes before stirring with a fork. Drain if needed. It can also be cooked in a lot of water like pasta, but you must drain before serving. Once cooked, quinoa will keep in the fridge for a week.

8. Incan Treasure

Few plants can boast of having all nine essential amino acids. Quinoa is a complete protein, even compared to casein, a milk protein. As an added bonus, quinoa is a source of iron and fibre. So there you have it: an extremely nutritious grain that is invaluable on your menu, whether served vegetarian or not.

9. Good Tip To Try

Update your pilaf, soup or stuffed vegetable recipes by replacing the rice or barley you normally use with quinoa.

10. Grains etc.

Besides grains, quinoa comes in other forms. It is made into pasta, flakes (a bit like oatmeal) and flour.

Hélène Laurendeau

A nutrition and health enthusiast who loves to share: this description fits Hélène Laurendeau to a tee. She has been active for more than 25 years in the media and communications field. Nutritionist, host, columnist, author and speaker, Hélène holds a Bachelor degree in Nutrition and a Master degree in Epidemiology. She has spread her knowledge alongside Ricardo every week since 2005, as part of his daily show broadcast on ICI Radio-Canada Télé, as well as in Ricardo magazine, where she pens the Bien se nourrir (Eating Well) column.