So few things can be called ‘complete’ in this world. There seems to always be something amiss: the perfect outfit but for the shoes, the novel with the unsubstantiated plot twist on p. 234, the ideal man but for the Star Trek… But Quinoa, the Inca’s sacred ‘Mother of all grains’ can lay legitimate claim to being a ‘complete protein’, containing a healthy balance of all 9 essential amino acids (including the ever elusive lysine). It’s also completely delicious, despite being closely related to tumbleweed, pitseed goosefoot, and the even more off-putting plant kin ‘fat hen’.
And so what if quinoa resembles tiny pale alien worm spawn wrapped tightly around plump translucent egg sacs; in comparison to wheat, barley, or corn, this miracle ‘pseudocereal’ delivers substantially more copper, fiber, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus, potassium and zinc – and ranks low on the glycemic index. One cooked cup (222cal) of quinoa provides 5g fiber (36% soluble 54% insoluble), 8g of protein, and is low in sodium. Click here for a full nutritional/calorie breakdown. Being exceptionally low in gluten, even those with celiac disease can munch ahead without fear of digestive retribution. But like anything in life claiming ‘completeness’ there is always an unwanted extra, so make sure you rinse off any residual saponin before enjoying this mildly nutty, mildly chewy delight.
How to cook quinoa and make the low calorie quick and easy vegetable quinoa salad shown above
Stir the ingredients listed below into 3 cups cooked and cooled quinoa in a 9″ by 12″ casserole dish – Add 1 cup rinsed quinoa to 2 cups water, bring to boil, turn down heat and let simmer 15 minutes, stir (when translucent with little white tails).
1 cucumber (chopped)
8 celery stalks (chopped)
6 carrots (chopped) (can be lightly steamed)
2 green onions (chopped)
2 cups frozen peas
1/4 cup chopped parsley (can be augmented with mint)
1/2 lime (squeezed)
salt to taste