Quinoa, pronounced Keen-Wah, is a wheat-free and gluten-free grain substitute and has a rich and nutritious past. Technically quinoa is not a true grain, but is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. It is used as a grain and substituted for grains because of its cooking characteristics.
Quinoa has over 120 varieties but only three are harvested in large quantities. Quinoa has a delicate fluffy consistence and a slightly nutty flavor. The leaves can be used for a salad much the same way that spinach leaves are used. The seeds can be used the same as we use rice or pasta. The seeds or grains must be rinsed before cooking to remove saponin, the bitter resin-like coating. They are rinsed before shipping but it is always wise to re-rinse at your home. Better safe than sorry. You’lll know when the saponin is gone because when it is present the water looks like you poured dish detergent in it and it is sudsy.
Quinoa’s nutritional value is extremely impressive. High in protein, calcium and iron, a relatively good source of vitamin E and several of the B vitamins. It contains an almost perfect balance of all eight essential amino acids needed for tissue development in humans.
But why are we even talking about Quinoa? Because it is always gluten-free!
So it will provide a tasty alternative to gluten-filled grains, loads of nutritional value, and for those that are not gluten-intolerant, allergic or celiac, quinoa is a great addition for a bit of variety and even preferred by many over glutenous grains.