Thursday, February 28, 2008

Quinoa: the super grain

I first came across Quinoa in Peru and was amazed by the beauty of the crop.

©2008 Am Ang Zhang

“… Quinoa (KEEN-wah) is a powerful supergrain that's been used in South America for 5,000 years. A good source of protein, it's a great choice for vegetarian main dishes….” said the Houston Chronicle. (A recipe for stuffed red peppers with quinoa, provolone and walnuts was also included.)

The Incas must have known as they had strong warriors.

NASA also considered Quinoa as a candidate crop for their controlled ecological life support systems:

“……Quinoa (Chenopodium quinoa Willd.) is being considered as a potential "new" crop for NASA's Controlled Ecological Life Support System (CELSS). The CELSS concept will utilize plants to remove carbon dioxide from the atmosphere and generate food, oxygen, and water for the crew of long-term human space missions. Criteria for selection of potential crops include nutritional composition, harvest index, canopy stature, and life cycle duration……”

Quinoa is said to be almost perfect as a grain. It has all the essential minerals and amino acids (including lysine, which is deficient in most grain crops) that are required for a balanced human diet.


Be sure to include it in your diet or get the shares of the companies that market it. Quinoa can be used to replace rice or couscous and there are loads of recipes around, e.g. quinoa, tomato and broccoli salad, quinoa and lentils salad, quinoa pilaf, quinoa salad with raspberry vinaigrette.

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