If you've never tried quinoa (pronounced "keen-wah"), you should probably re-think your next dinner. Quinoa is a crop much like a grain, though it is not a true cereal grain. It is a small seed, and is often cooked in the same fashion as rice. It appears most like couscous, and its germ exits the seed as it cooks - you will see a small ring around the seed. The beauty of this food is not only its versatility, but also its nutritional content.
Rinse it, cook it, then toss it into salads, use it as a base for a stirfry, or as a side dish to any main. Because of its high protein content (and the fact that it is a "complete protein"), you can also omit a meat product for a full meal, making it a popular choice with vegans and vegetarians. It's been said to have a slight nutty flavour, but it really takes on the flavour of the dish. I like to cook it like rice, and then combine it with some of my favourite vegetables.
A "complete protein" has a balanced set of amino acids, which is why quinoa is considered to be a superfood. It is unusual for grains to claim this title. And, not only is quinoa a rare, grain-like available substitute for meat, it is also high in iron, magnesium and fibre. Because it is easy to digest, it is also a popular choice for people with celiac disease, or those who follow a gluten-free diet.
For all of my readers who actually have zero interest in nutritional value (you might be on the wrong site!) - fret not. The texture is interesting. Quinoa is delicious. Have it for breakfast with walnuts and a small drizzle of maple syrup, for lunch in a salad, or mixed with chopped sweet potato as a side for dinner.
Try something new!