How do I love you quinoa? Let me count the ways…
Quinoa is a fantastic food for a veggie or a vegan. Or even a “normal” person!
Every time someone says “But where do you get your protein from?” when you mention that you don’t eat animals, you invariably list things like spinach, kale, broccoli (yes, aside from being iron rich, leafy greens are also protein rich), chickpeas, beans, lentils, tofu, tempeh.
A lot of people respond with interest.
But there’s always that one person who is hell-bent on insisting you can’t get enough protein from your diet.
They’ll try to trap you — “But, but!!! Those aren’t complete proteins! How do you get all the essential amino acids to live healthily?”
Well, since you asked… quinoa!
It’s a complete protein – like spirulina, buckwheat, and hempseed. It gives you all 12 essential amino acids. And aside from being great for you, it tastes delicious in a variety of savoury and sweet dishes.
In the interests of full disclosure, despite being a complete protein, quinoa is not high in protein, say like broccoli (which is higher per pound than beef).
BUT you don’t actually need to have one source of complete protein for every meal to get your essential amino acids. You can get it by combining two or more sources in one meal, or over the course of a day – like my black bean and quinoa salad, or my quinoa broccoli bake. Nor do you need to get all of your protein in one meal – it’s much better to have protein sources with every meal.
I use quinoa in salads, casseroles/bakes, and in place of rice. But I also use it as a sweet porridge for breakfast, which is Ah-MAZING.
- 1/2 cup of uncooked quinoa which = 2 cups of cooked quinoa
- 1-2 cups of milk of your choice. You can use animal milk, soy milk, rice milk – but my favourite is unsweetened, vanilla almond milk.
- Use any one or combination of these toppings for maximum tastiness: 1 cup of mixed berries (mine are usually strawberries, raspberries and blueberries), strawberries alone, chopped banana, chopped apple.
- Extra sweetener if you have a sweet tooth and don’t leave it at fruit: 1 tablespoon (life’s short, don’t skimp at a teaspoon I say) of maple syrup, agave syrup or honey. If you’ve used apple, use a sprinkle of cinnamon, too.
1. Even if your quinoa is pre-rinsed, it’s still good to give it another rinse and shake in a colander, just to be on the safe side.
2. Bring 2 cups of water to the boil, toss in your quinoa, and cook on medium heat for 15-20 minutes.
3. While your quinoa is cooking, chop your fruit, and get your milk, sweetener and cinnamon nearby to toss on top.
4. Onceyour quinoa is ready, take it off the heat and drain any last bits of water from it. Give it a quick fluff with a fork and shake any last drops of water out.
5. Add your quinoa and milk to a bowl. Sprinkle with your toppings and sweetener.
Prep time: 15 mins with uncooked quinoa, 5 mins with cooked quinoa.
Serving: one person. Double for two etc, etc.
You can connect with South Nomad, Jessica, over at Google+.