Quinoa originated in the Andean region of Peru, Bolivia, Ecuador and Colombia, where it was domesticated 3,000 to 4,000 years ago for human consumption. It is a grain, a whole grain, a particularly high protein content, a full complement of essential amino acids — particularly lysine, which other grains are short of. That makes it a complete protein, comparable to that in meat and dairy products. Its low gluten content makes it suitable for people who suffer from celiac disease and can’t digest wheat, rye, barley or several other grains. For more details, Ohio State Ag Research in 2008 posted Mother Grain Quinoa – A Complete Protein. Quinoa is also a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, potassium, copper, zinc and iron. In addition, quinoa is very high in fiber, apparently nearly double than most grains. A 2012 Forbes Article calls quinoa the Supergrain of the Future. This July, the Wall Street Journal outlined that Quinoa Rides the Superfood and Gluten Free Waves.
I didn’t grow up eating this quirky grain. My Egyptian mother, who cooked our meals daily in spite of the fact that my dad owned a restaurant, valued directly overseeing our diets were rich in nutrients and home foods. Traditional white rice dishes often accompanied our fresh vegetables and high protein dinners. I came across quinoa afterwards, in my personal adventure of living gluten free to heal a few digestion issues during grad school.
However, the mother grain has become a staple in our weekly home kitchen. In fact, quinoa, avocado and scrambled eggs has elevated to be one of my favorite comfort foods. Easy to make and with so many benefits, I’m sure you’ll love it too. Here is my recipe for making quinoa.
A disclosure on my technique: I use a more or less conventional method. Earlier this year, America’s Test Kitchen, and Cook’s Illustrated released a tested quinoa pilaf recipe claiming the conventional ratio of quinoa to water is too high and sauteing with oil increases bitterness. I haven’t yet tested their techniques in my home kitchen, but wanted to provide the information for your knowledge.
Garlic and Truffle Sea Salt Simple Quinoa
Prep Time 5 minutes; Cook Time 15 minutes; Total Time 20 minutes
- 1 cup quinoa
- 2 tablespoons olive oil
- 1 garlic clove
- 1/4 tsp salt (I used a black truffle sea salt from a specialty shop)
- Rinse quinoa gently and thoroughly to wash off any residue of the natural external layer of bitter saponin and drain well.
- In a 2-quart saucepan with lid over high heat, pour the olive oil and press the garlic clove. Saute till you smell the garlic, less than a minute.
- Add drained quinoa and stir to combine. Leave on heat to allow any residual water from the rinse to evaporate.
- Add salt.
- Add 2 cups of water, stir, and bring to a vigorous boil.
- Turn the heat to low and cover for 15 minutes.
- Remove from heat, and leave covered to sit for 5 minutes.
- Fluff and serve.
Yield 3 servings
Serving Size 1 cup