Considered a “psuedocereal”, quinoa kicks most whole grain’s butt straight across the board on the good nutrition scale. The seeds are what we eat, and most of the time when we get them they have already been cleaned and the seed coats that contain the bitter saponins have been mostly removed though a bit of it remains and makes its presence known in solubles by producing the soap-like bubbles. For this I suggest rinsing your quinoa thoroughly prior to cooking or toasting as the saponins are toxic (not deadly) as well as act as anti-nutrients. I (Chef Ronnie) find that odd but I assume it’s for protection?
Birds are immune but mammals can’t take it and it is deadly to fish so don’t run out of food for the aquarium and try to sub quinoa, okay?
You can use it in place of any grain, in almost all applications including milling it into flour, but be aware that it is dense flour. For baking I suggest using it as a third of the mixture. i.e. for a gluten free flour mix use 2 parts rice and one part quinoa or to make it even lighter make 2 parts rice flour and split 1 part between tapioca and quinoa flours.
When I boil it I like to leave it just a wee bit crunchy, beyond al dente, for textural reasons as well as staving off risk of boiling away its nutritional values.
I love it as breakfast cereal as well as a savory pilaf or uncooked in trail mix or granola.
Here at Farm to Fit we are working on some snack bars (sweet and savory) for the near future with quinoa as the foundation for the in between meal supplements needed, especially by those with diabetes, to maintain the glycemic load. We’ll keep you posted.
Until next time…