Red quinoa is actually a seed and not a grain. It does not belong to the cereal or grass family. There are 1,800 varieties of quinoa and I prefer the red variety for its taste.
From a nutritional point of view, quinoa is superior to most grains. First, quinoa is a better source of protein than other grains with about 4 times the amount of protein compared to cream of wheat, for instance. Quinoa is also considered a complete protein. It contains all the essential amino acids that the body needs for its own protein synthesis.
Second, quinoa is richer in fat content than other grains. Most of the fat in quinoa is polyunsaturated fragile fat, the kind that normally get oxidized quickly. However quinoa does not get rancid very easily. This is probably due to quinoa’s relatively high level of antioxidants that protect the fats from oxidation.
Third, it’s gluten-free. Gluten has been under serious investigation lately and if you are following the discussion about it, like I do, you might be getting more and more convinced that it’s a good idea to eat less gluten or cut it from your diet entirely. Gluten is very hard to digest and some undigested parts of it, when absorbed as small sequence of amino acids, can wreak havoc in our body.
Red Quinoa and Kale Salad
1 cup red quinoa, rinsed
1 bunch kale
1 big onion, sliced
2 Tbsp olive oil
1-2 Tbsp pine nuts (optional)
Salt and Pepper to taste
- In a pot bring to a boil 1.5 cups of water. Add salt and quinoa, when boils again reduce heat and simmer for about 30 minutes.
- In a skillet or frying pan over medium heat warm up the oil, add the onions and sauté for about 10 minutes, until slightly golden.
- Meanwhile, separate the kale leaves from their stems. Discard the stems. Put the leaves together. Slice or chop them up.
- Add the kale to the onions and sauté together for about 5 minutes, until the kale is wilted.
- In a bowl combine quinoa and onion/kale sauté and mix together. Adjust the seasoning, sprinkle with pine nuts and serve warm or cold with Lamb Shanks, Rosemary Pork Shoulder, or Fish With Herbs En Papillote.