What is quinoa, its benefits and protein-rich dinner recipes you should include in your diet

Often called “KEEN-wah” and “mother of all grains” they are gluten-free seeds that are known to be very rich in plant-based protein. This seed is also rich in all nine essential amino acids needed by the human body, and is considered an “ancient grain.” Due to the properties of this nutrient-dense seed it is also called a super food and is now used in place of other “healthy grains”. One of the best things about quinoa is its versatility as it can be used to make any kind of dish. Compared to grains like rice, quinoa has a softer taste with a mild flavor and is one of the many qualities that help in making a variety of dishes.

quinoa benefits

In just one cup of cooked quinoa, it contains 8-9 grams of protein and thus is an excellent choice for vegetarians and vegans. For this reason, quinoa is considered one of the most important diets for weight loss. Quinoa is also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatory compounds, which promote overall health while protecting against various diseases. Rich in many vitamins and minerals, quinoa can also improve your metabolic health and is a smart choice to add carbohydrates to your diet.

quinoa varieties

Quinoa is most often found in red and white, however, there are countries where you can find other types such as black, orange, purple, pink and even yellow. White is the most common variety, takes very little time to cook and has a mild flavor and crunchy texture. On the other hand, “red” quinoa is known to be rich in flavor and crunchy. The ‘black’ quinoa is tastier and crunchier and requires a lot of cooking time

The trick to cooking quinoa perfectly

First, pour the quinoa into a fine mesh strainer and rinse it under cold running water for about 30 seconds. Then add it to the pot with salt to taste, pour water or broth on it, and stir well. Bring to a boil, then reduce the heat, cover with a lid and simmer for 15-20 minutes. Or if you want to cook in a pressure cooker, add the quinoa with enough water in the pressure cooker and close the lid. Let the quinoa cook for 5-6 whistles and do not open the lid immediately. Once the pressure has eased, set it aside for 5-10 minutes so that all the water has been absorbed. You can use a fork to fluff the quinoa and spread it on a plate.

Quinoa and chickpea salad

Incorporating grains into a lunchtime salad adds another layer of flavor, texture, and, of course, the benefits. Here, in a salad recipe, quinoa is mixed with black beans and chickpeas, both of which are packed with protein and fiber. To make this salad, first, prepare the dressing by mixing 4 tablespoons olive oil, 2 teaspoons lemon juice, 1/2 teaspoon chili powder, 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt, 1 tablespoon white vinegar, and 1 /2 teaspoon of sugar. Set aside and mix together 1 cup quinoa (boiled), 4 tablespoons black beans (boiled), 4 tablespoons chickpeas, 1/2 cup sweet pepper (finely chopped), 1/2 red onion (finely chopped) 1/2 Avocado (cut into slices). Pour dressing over it and your protein-rich salad is ready to eat.

One pot chicken, quinoa, mushroom and spinach

Place chicken thighs in a medium-sized bowl. Add the rosemary, smoked paprika, salt and pepper, and stir until the chicken is covered. Heat 1 teaspoon of olive oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook for 2 minutes on each side. Transfer the chicken to a plate. Heat the remaining teaspoon of olive oil in the skillet. Add the onion and mushrooms and cook for 4 to 5 minutes until the vegetables are softened. Add garlic and cook for 1 minute. Stir in the quinoa and broth with the vegetables. Bring to a boil, then cover, reduce heat and simmer for 10 minutes. Place chicken in quinoa, and cook (covered) until liquid has absorbed and chicken is cooked through, about 20 minutes (30 minutes total). Transfer the chicken to a plate. Spinach heart with quinoa. Serve it with chicken. Season to taste.

Spicy chicken broth with quinoa pilaf

To make the pilaf, put the quinoa in a pressure cooker with enough water, salt, and raisins. Bring to a boil over high heat. Close the lid and cook for 3-4 whistles. Once done, remove from heat and let sit for 5 to 10 minutes before fluffing with a fork. Then add the almonds and mix gently until combined. Leave it aside until needed. Now, preheat the oven to 400 ° C, put a baking sheet folded with parchment paper and add the zucchini. Add 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil, sprinkle 1/2 teaspoon salt and pink pepper, and stir well. Spread on one layer and heat for 30 minutes. Stir and continue roasting for another 10-15 minutes or until they turn brown and are completely cooked through. Remove from oven and let warm remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons olive oil in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add onions and saute for 5 minutes or until golden. Add garlic and cook for another 3 minutes. Add parsley, cumin, sweet pepper and ½ teaspoon salt. Cook for 1 to 2 minutes. Add carrots and 1 cup of chickpea cooking water (or water), and bring to a boil over high heat. Cover the pot, reduce the heat and simmer for 10-12 minutes. Add chickpeas and mashed tomatoes, then stir in harissa paste, chopped parsley leaves, and roasted squash; Simmer, uncovered, for a few more minutes to allow the flavors to blend and soften and serve warm.

  1. Is quinoa a grain or a seed?
    You may have cooked it just like any other grain, but it’s actually a grain that’s cooked just like rice.
  2. Are there only 3 types of quinoa?
    Well, according to the Whole Grain Council, there are about 120 varieties of quinoa. However, the most popular types of quinoa are white, red and black.
  3. How much protein is in one cup of quinoa?
    You will be surprised to know that there are 8-9 grams of protein in just one cup of cooked quinoa.
  4. Is it okay to eat quinoa every day?
    As boring as it may sound, quinoa is definitely one of the healthiest foods that you can eat every day because it has a good amount of nutrition. You can easily replace it with 1 cup of rice or 2 chapatis.
  5. What is the best way to cook quinoa?
    The best way to cook quinoa is to rinse it well first with enough water. The reason for this is that it has a bitter coating called saponin, which must be washed away. Also, when cooking quinoa, be sure to double the water and cook for 10-15 minutes, uncovered. After that, remove from heat and set aside for 10 minutes so that it absorbs water and becomes fluffy.

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