2013 Is International Year For Quinoa
CHICAGO, Jan. 24, 2013 /PRNewswire/ — No matter where you go or who you talk to at this time of year, people are changing their diets and cooking mindsets to stay on track with nutrition and health goals. According to Peapod’s Fresh Markets expert Tony Stallone, one of the best, healthy food trends for accomplishing this shift is a little-known, ancient grain called quinoa (keen-wha). “Quinoa is a whole grain, but unlike wheat, oats, rye and other whole grains, quinoa provides much needed protein, fat and essential amino acids to our diet, plus it’s gluten and cholesterol free,” says Stallone.
Stallone added that shopper trends on Peapod.com in these early days of the new year are showing consumer preferences for healthier food choices. “It’s different than in the past when New Year’s resolutions meant fad diets,” he said. “We’re seeing increased purchases of fresh foods and vegetables and healthy food options like quinoa.”
2013′s Super Grain
Quinoa is enjoying a healthy dose of attention – in fact, the United Nations has declared 2013 the International Year for Quinoa to highlight its exceptional nutritional qualities, its role as a secure food source, and its potential contribution to the fight against hunger and malnutrition. Quinoa is indigenous to the Andean people of South America but can grow practically anywhere from high altitude areas to regions with drought-like conditions.
Tony’s Tips & Recipes for Super Tasting Quinoa
A super grain is only “super” if it tastes great. Stallone says his family has been enjoying quinoa as a replacement for rice or couscous. “We love its slightly nutty flavor, and my kids love the pop of the grains as they chew,” he says.
- Stallone’s rules for cooking quinoa are just like rice: 1 part quinoa to 2 parts liquid. “I use chicken stock as my liquid for additional flavor, but you can use water or a 50/50 blend to keep the cost down. Bring your liquid and the quinoa to a boil, then turn down the heat and simmer covered. Quinoa cooks faster than rice and will be done in 12 to 15 minutes,” he says.
- Read the package, and buy quinoa that is pre-rinsed. It saves you a step in prep time.
- You can dry roast quinoa in a pan on your stovetop over medium heat for 5 minutes, or until lightly browned, before adding liquid and cooking, to bring out its nutty flavor.
- Try quinoa as a breakfast cereal by combining cooked quinoa with rolled oats, blueberries, strawberries and sliced almonds.
Quinoa Salad Combines 2 Super Foods
Here’s a Stallone family recipe for Quinoa Salad that combines roasted sweet potatoes and onions with cranberries and sauteed kale, the Super Food of 2012:
1 cup quinoa 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar 1 tbsp. honey 1/2 tsp. kosher salt 1/4 tsp. black pepper 1 medium sweet potato, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes 1 small to medium red onion, peeled and cut into 1/2 inch cubes 3 tbsp. extra virgin olive oil 1/4 tsp. minced garlic 1/4 cup chicken or vegetable stock 4 cups kale, stems removed, julienned 1/2 cup dried cranberries
Cook quinoa as directed. Set aside in a large bowl to cool for 5 to 10 minutes. Whisk together balsamic vinegar, honey, ¼ tsp. kosher salt, 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Add to cooled quinoa, stir until combined, and set aside. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Toss sweet potato and onion with 2 tbsp. olive oil, ¼ tsp. salt and 1/8 tsp. black pepper. Spread in a single layer on a large cookie sheet and roast for 20-25 minutes, until lightly caramelized. Stir once during cooking time. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly. Heat 1 tbsp. olive oil, garlic and stock in a saucepan over medium heat until simmering. Add kale. Cover with lid and steam for 1-2 minutes or until brightly colored and slightly wilted, stirring once or twice. Remove kale from pan with slotted spoon and place in a medium mixing bowl. Add roasted vegetables, kale and dried cranberries to quinoa and toss gently. Serve.
For additional quinoa recipes by Peapod’s Tony Stallone, visit this link to Chicago’s ABC7 where, each month, Stallone shares his love and expertise for fresh ingredients, simple preparation and great-tasting food.
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