Technically quinoa is not a true grain, but is the seed of the Chenopodium or Goosefoot plant. It is considered, and used, as a grain because of its cooking characteristics. The name comes from the Greek words, chen (a goose) and pous (a foot) – because the leaves of the plant resemble the webbed foot of a goose. The plant is a type of succulent and grows 4-6 feet tall. The flower heads are branched and when in seed, look like millet – with large clusters of seeds at the end of the stalk. Relatives of quinoa are Beets, Spinach and Swiss Chard.
Quinoa is native to the Andes Mountains of Bolivia, Chile and Peru and has been eaten continuously for 5,000 years by the people who live on these mountain plateaus. It was once called "the gold of the Incas" who recognized its value in increasing the stamina of their warriors. Quinoa includes all 9 essential amino acids and is high in manganese, magnesium, iron, copper and phosphorus. When cooked it is sort of fluffy & creamy with an almost nutty flavour.
So tonight I whipped up a salad using quinoa:
While the quinoa was cooking (which only takes 15 minutes) I cut up red onions, red peppers & cilantro
Then add diced mango
Then production had to stop for awhile because the quinoa had cooked but it needed to be cooled before it could be added (I cheated by putting it in a metal bowl in the deep freeze). This is what it looked like in the last seconds of cooking:
Once cooled – add it to the mango etc:
And then ….. throw in some black beans and a bit of vinegar:
Really delicious!! (and so good for you!).