Quinoa – an ancient superfood | The Sisterhood of the Shrinking Jeans LLC


It’s gluten-free, it’s considered a superfood and it has taken the U.S. by storm. This description could actually be a variety of food products on store shelves right now, but I’m referring to quinoa. Salads, noodles, casseroles, breads – it can be found in several different forms and used in a variety of ways in the kitchen.

Quinoa, a seed, is classified as one of the best superfoods on the market. Superfoods are loosely defined and include an amalgam of foods that are claimed to have extraordinary nutritional benefits, including high levels of antioxidants or omega-3 fatty acids. Quinoa is revered for its iron, protein, fiber and other minerals.

Quinoa’s origins trace back to the Andean mountains of Peru. This seed has been consumed by the Andean people for thousands of years. It started making waves in the U.S. in 1983 when a trio of Colorado men founded Ancient Harvest quinoa company, and began importing and promoting it for its high protein content and flexibility in the kitchen.

According to trade-data provider Datamyne Inc., U.S. imports of quinoa—grown mainly in the Andes Mountains of South America—soared to 14.2 million pounds last year from 1.6 million pounds in 2007. Its price more than doubled in that time, to $7.56 a pound from about $3.50.

Although there are several varieties of quinoa that exist in the Andes, the three most widely cultivated and available are white, red and black quinoa. ‘White’ quinoa is the most common kind available in stores and is  most often simply called quinoa (sometimes it’s referred to as ivory quinoa). Red quinoa is reported to hold its shape better after cooking than quite quinoa. This could make it more suitable for cold salads or other recipes where a distinct grain is desirable. Black quinoa is a bit earthier and sweeter than white quinoa. It also stays black after it’s been cooked.

For more in-depth information on quinoa, click here.

At the Shrinking Kitchen, we have several delicious recipes where quinoa is used. Here are just a few:

Roasted Vegetable & Quinoa Salad

Sesame Mushroom Quinoa Bowls 

Artichoke Quinoa Salad with Lemon Basil Dressing

We want to hear from you: what are your favorite quinoa recipes?

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