Making Superfoods Super Good: Quinoa
17 Oct, 2012
**Editor’s Note: Welcome to our new writer Amy. She will be teaching us about “Superfoods” — things we all should incorporate in to our diets. She also has some fun ways to take some thing we maybe haven’t heard of and make them ‘kid friendly.’ Enjoy!
Written by Amy Almsteier
Quinoa (pronounced keen-wah) is a grain-like seed that originated in the Andes region of South America. What makes quinoa so special is that it is one of few plant sources of complete protein. The human body needs nine essential amino acids to maintain it’s proper biological processes. A food containing all nine essential amino acids in the appropriate proportions is considered a complete protein. While animal based foods are complete proteins too, quinoa provides great nutrition in a low-calorie, cholesterol free, low-fat, and low-glycemic package. Quinoa is also high in fiber, riboflavin, calcium, vitamin E, iron, potassium, phosphorus, magnesium,
folic acid and beta carotene – wow! To start cooking with quinoa try adding a cup or two of cooked quinoa into dishes that your family already enjoys such as chili, soups, and stews. Quinoa is nutritionally superior to rice and the similar texture makes it simple to substitute in recipes calling for rice such as Spanish rice, pilafs, and casseroles. You can even boost the protein content of your baked goods and pancakes by grinding whole quinoa into flour in your food processor. Simply substitute half of the wheat flour in most recipes with quinoa flour.
Below are two unique ways to use quinoa.
The quinoa nuggets are similar in look and texture to typical chicken nuggets, however they are nutritionally superior to store-bought and fast food versions. They are lower in calories, fat, sodium, and don’t contain any suspicious ingredients or preservatives. These make a great meal or snack to introduce kids to quinoa in a familiar format. Just like your usual nuggets these taste great dipped into everything from ranch and honey mustard to barbeque sauce. And while nuggets are typically kid fare these aren’t just for kids – my whole family loves them, even the grandparents!
(makes 20-24 nuggets)
1 cup quinoa
2 cups chicken stock
2/3 cup grated mild cheese (such as gouda or fontina)
3 tbsp flour
2 tbsp olive oil (approximately)
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
salt to taste
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Rinse quinoa thoroughly in a mesh strainer. Place quinoa and chicken stock in a saucepan on the stovetop or in a rice cooker. If using a rice cooker simply cook on the rice setting until finished. On the stovetop bring to a boil then cover and reduce to a simmer, cook until all liquid is absorbed (about 10-15 minutes). Allow quinoa to cool.
2. While quinoa is cooking warm a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Drizzle with about 1 tbsp of olive oil and add breadcrumbs. Cook until brown and toasted, then set aside.
3. Once cooled place quinoa, cheese, salt, and flour in a bowl and mix thoroughly with a fork until the quinoa looks coated with the flour.
Add egg and continue mixing to evenly moisten.
4. Using a small cookie dough scoop or large spoon, scoop even amounts of quinoa mixture. Roll into a ball in your hands then roll to coat in the toasted breadcrumbs.
5. Place the ball into a 2” biscuit cutter and tamp down with your fingers to shape into a round nugget.
Ideally, the nuggets will be evenly sized to ensure even cooking. Place the finished nuggets on a foil lined baking sheet brushed with olive oil.
6. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 20-25 minutes, turning once halfway through cooking. Once they are finished they should be browned and firm to the touch. Serve with your favorite dipping sauces.
ALMOND QUINOA FACE MASK
1/4 cup whole raw almonds
1/4 cup dry quinoa
1/4 powdered milk (soy, cow, or goat milk all work)
1. Using a coffee grinder, spice mill, or small food processor grind quinoa into a fine powder (some chunks are ok). Set aside in
a bowl. Do the same with the almonds – pulse to avoid making nut butter. Add the almonds and powdered milk to the bowl and
2. To apply place a spoonful of the mask into your palm and add just enough water to dampen it into a paste. Apply to face, neck, and decolletage scrubbing in a circular motion. Allow to set on your skin for at least 5 minutes before rinsing.
3. Store in a dry place. I keep mine in a covered dish on the bathroom countertop.