Have you ever wondered what is quinoa? We’re explaining a little about this grain and sharing a recipe for a bright Mexican-inspired quinoa salad.
Have you discovered quinoa yet?
It is a grain that has gained some pretty impressive popularity in the past few years for it’s similarity to rice, its nutty flavor, and its nutrition content.
So, what is Quinoa?
Quinoa is the seed of a grain-like crop originating from the North West region of South America. It has been eaten by the people in this region of the Andes for over 3000 years.
The quinoa seeds of this plant (that is actually more closely related to spinach and beets than wheat or other grains) contain high levels of essential amino acids, as well as calcium, iron, and phosphorus. Its protein content is also quite high for a ‘grain’.
You may have heard about rinsing quinoa before cooking. The seed in its natural state contains chemicals called saponins, which give the seed’s coating a bitter flavor. However, most quinoa sold in North America has been processed to remove this coating. So, rinsing is simply a personal preference. (However, if you are outside of the States and purchase quinoa, rinsing may be necessary.)
Our Avocado Quinoa Salad
We do really like quinoa for its unique texture and nutty flavor. It works great in Mexican-inspired dishes like this Black Beans and Quinoa dish.
This dish here has a bit of Mexican flare with the lime and cilantro, but it takes a more bright and citrus spin to the seed. The avocado adds a nice smooth texture that contrasts well with the more grain-like texture of the quinoa.
Have you ever wondered what is quinoa? We're explaining a little about this grain and sharing a recipe for a bright Mexican-inspired quinoa salad.
- 2/3 c quinoa, uncooked
- 1 1/3 c water
- 1 c corn, fresh or frozen
- ½ c peas, fresh or frozen
- ½ c black beans, cooked, drained if canned
- ¼ c onion, diced
- ¼ c red pepper, diced
- 1 Tbsp lime juice
- 2 Tbsp fresh cilantro, chopped
- ½ tsp salt
- ½ avocado, diced
In a medium saucepan, boil water and cook quinoa according to package instructions, covered, (roughly 15 min.) Once the quinoa is fluffy and tender, and all the moisture has been absorbed, remove from heat.
- Mix in remaining ingredients, except the avocado. Add the avocado last and mix gently.
- Serve as a side dish, as a dip with chips, or as a light lunch.